A look at 5 most expensive flood projects being worked on in Harris County

By Cory McCord - Digital News Editor
2017 Getty Images

A section of US-90 sits under 16 feet of water on Sep. 3, 2017, a week after Hurricane Harvey hit Southern Texas.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas - Hurricane Harvey exposed Houston's high risk of flooding.

In the wake of the storm, Harris County has taken dozens of measures to protect its citizens from being put in harm's way during future storms.

The risk of Harvey-like events could even increase in the future.

The county is "taking the challenge head-on by investing billions (of dollars) in flood control, housing and emergency preparedness," according to the Harris County Thrives website.

Click here to see the full project map

By the numbers

  • $6.8 billion in total funds expected to be used for flood mitigation projects
  • $2.2 billion in total funds that have been allocated to date
  • 200+ projects either active or planned to help with flood control

Here's a look at the most expensive projects in the Bayou City:

No. 5 - Rehabilitation of channels upstream of Addicks Reservoir

Budget: $41.3 million

The Harris County Flood Control District began a major investigation of the current condition and capacity of all channels for which it has property rights that flow into Addicks Reservoir.

Harris County Thrives

The goal of this project is to assess and repair impacts from recent flood events on channels that carry stormwater into the federal reservoirs. The project is limited to channels within Harris County and for which the Flood Control District has property rights. Rainfall within the 138-square-mile Addicks Reservoir watershed drains along 159 miles of open waterways, including Langham Creek and its major tributaries, such as South Mayde Creek, Bear Creek and Horsepen Creek.

Harris County Thrives

No. 4 - Channel improvements from State Highway 249 to Willow Creek

Budget: $56.1 million

This project aims to improve conveyance along HCFCD Unit M124-00-00, from State Highway 249 to Willow Creek.

Recent action:

July 30, 2019 – Harris County Commissioners Court authorized a $1.6 million agreement with an energy company to adjust pipelines in connection with this project.

April 30, 2019 – Harris County Commissioners Court authorized the Harris County Flood Control District to submit an application to the U.S. Department of Commerce/Economic Development Administration for a $3 million grant, with a required match of $3.5 million, for the Willow Creek Stormwater Detention Basin project.

Nov. 13, 2018 – Harris County Commissioners Court approved a $901,245 agreement with an engineering firm to conduct preliminary engineering in support of this project.

Aug. 28, 2018 – Harris County Commissioners Court authorized negotiations with an engineering firm for preliminary engineering and final design of this project.

No. 3 - Design and construction of Woodland Trails stormwater detention basin

Budget: $63.5 million

This stormwater detention basin facilitates completion of the federal project on White Oak Bayou which could reduce the risk of flooding for 1,800 structures in the 2% floodplain.

Recent action:

Sept. 25, 2018 – Harris County Commissioners Court authorized and initiated this project.

Sept. 25, 2018 – Harris County Commissioners Court authorized submission of an amended application to the Texas Department of Public Safety for a grant in support of this project.

No. 2 - Schiel stormwater detention basin

Budget: $87.5 million

This project is part of the Little Cypress Creek Frontier Program, which focuses on the 52-square-mile Little Cypress Creek watershed in northwest Harris County. This area, which is experiencing rapid development with the construction of the Grand Parkway, lacks sufficient natural drainage to accommodate expected growth. By collaborating with landowners and developers, the program works to identify a large-scale, mutually beneficial plan for drainage that cost-effectively maximizes stormwater mitigation, flood damage reduction and water quality, as well as opportunities for public recreational amenities and open space.

Harris County Thrives

The Schiel basin project involves design and construction of a stormwater detention basin to reduce flooding risks in the Little Cypress Creek Watershed. This basin will help reduce existing flood levels and allow for future stormwater infrastructure improvements that will reduce the risk of flooding in this area.

The basin site, which is expected to include more than 580 acres, is located north of Highway 290 and west of the Grand Parkway, near the intersection of Bauer and Schiel roads, in northwest Harris County.

When complete, the basin is expected to hold a total of approximately 1.6 to 1.9 billion gallons, or between 5,000 and 6,000 acre-feet, of excess stormwater.

Recent action:

Jan. 8, 2019 – Harris County Commissioners Court declared a public necessity and authorized the acquisition of three tracts of land in support of this project.

March 26, 2019 – Harris County Commissioners Court approved a $2.23 million addition to a contract with an engineering firm to conduct design, bidding and construction stage engineering services in support of this project.

No. 1 - Little Cypress Creek Frontier Program

Budget: $111.6 million

The Little Cypress Creek Frontier Program is one component of the Harris County Flood Control District's overall Frontier Program, which is an organized effort to plan for regional drainage infrastructure in advance of future land development.

The Little Cypress Creek Frontier Program focuses on the 52-square-mile Little Cypress Creek watershed in northwest Harris County. This area, which is experiencing rapid development with the construction of the Grand Parkway, lacks sufficient natural drainage to accommodate expected growth.

Harris County Thrives

By collaborating with landowners and developers, the program is working to identify a large-scale, mutually beneficial plan for drainage that cost-effectively maximizes stormwater mitigation and water quality, as well as opportunities for public recreational amenities and open space.

Major components of the Little Cypress Creek Frontier Program plan include:

Recent action:

March 12, 2019 – Harris County Commissioners Court approved a $1.35 million agreement with an engineering firm for additional services needed to update the master plan and provide program management and staffing in support of this project.

Jan. 8, 2019 – Harris County Commissioners Court authorized negotiations with an engineering firm for the final design of this project.

Dec. 18, 2018 – Harris County Commissioners Court formally accepted the Little Cypress Creek Watershed Master Drainage Plan and authorized the Flood Control District to proceed with implementation of the master plan, acquisition of right-of-way and design, and construction of stormwater detention basins and channel improvements to reduce flooding risks in the Little Cypress Creek watershed.

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