New details on proposed tunnels used to drain floodwater

HOUSTON – The Harris County Flood Control District is looking at building eight large underground tunnels to alleviate flooding in Harris County.

“One of the biggest benefits of going underground is less impact on the surface, less land acquisition,” said Scott Elmer with the Harris County Flood Control District.

The tunnels would be built where county leaders say they will be most effective and beneficial. “We identified flood damage centers, areas where flooding reaches a critical mass, where it’s repetitive, where it’s sufficient depth,” said Elmer.

Each tunnel would be 10 miles long and anywhere from 30 feet to 45 feet in diameter.

Seven tunnels would lead to the Ship Tunnel and one to Lake Houston.

But, the plan comes with challenges.

The cost of the entire tunnel system is estimated to cost $30 billion. They hope the government and state would help with funding.

Each tunnel would take 10 to 15 years to build.  “If this tunnel study on Phase Three pans out, it is a chance to make a very significant transformational impact on flood risk reduction in the county,” said Elmer.

Phase Three would start next Spring and look into how they could integrate the system into our existing network of flood control.


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