With League City City Council’s unanimous approval Oct. 13, the first of 21 neighborhood drainage projects voters approved in a May 2019 bond election is officially underway.

The council voted in approval of entering a construction contract with Conrad Construction Co. for Phase 3 of the Bay Ridge neighborhood flood reduction project. The work will not exceed $4,817,500.

According to a city memo, “Conrad has constructed two projects for the city in the last year and were found to be easy to work with, reliable and have constructed good work product ...”

Despite being the third phase, Phase 3 will be the first under construction for the four-phase project. Phase 3 work will improve drainage and stormwater capacity within the neighborhood adjacent to Gum Bayou.

Construction is expected to last 470 days, or a year and 3.5 months, meaning the work would wrap up in early 2022.

Conrad Construction was the sole company to bid on the project. The company’s bid came in over $1 million less than the $5.9 million city engineers expected the project to cost.

Around the time of the bond election, the project was expected to cost only $3.86 million, but COVID-19 has increased construction costs, Director of Engineering Chris Sims said.

“We’ll have to use money from elsewhere,” City Manager John Baumgartner said. “Our commitment’s to move all the projects forward.”

Phases 1, 2 and 4, which have yet to be approved for construction, include levee improvements and protection from drainage flows across Hwy. 96, adding capacity to the existing detention pond and adding a dedicated pump station, and widening Gum Bayou from Hwy. 96 to southern city limits, respectively.

Of all 21 drainage projects, the city opted to start with the Bay Ridge project because of how badly it was hit by Hurricane Harvey. Of the 400 homes in the neighborhood, only about a dozen did not flood during the storm, Baumgartner said.