Work will begin in April on the first phase of an east side drainage project along University Boulevard in the city of West University Place that could last for at least 13 months.

After a unanimous vote Feb. 27, West University Place City Council members awarded the nearly $6 million contract to Conrad Construction Co. Ltd. to complete street and stormwater drainage improvements between Buffalo Speedway and Kirby Drive. This is considered the first of two phases for the project.

“There’s meetings that have to happen with the Harris County Flood Control [District] because of the drainage project and just making sure we can get those scheduled,” City Manager Dave Beach said. “Once we have that scheduled, then the sequence falls in line.”

While the price tag for the project is nearly $6 million, only an estimated $600,000 will come out of taxpayer pockets, officials said. That is because the city received $5.4 million as part of a federally funded grant from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department through the Texas General Land Office. The grants are part of the Community Development Block Grants-Disaster Relief program, or CDBG-DR, Beach said.

“The city received this back through Harvey grants,” Beach said.

The east side project had to be split up in two packages in order to meet time limit within the grant funding, Beach said.

Phase 2 of the project consists of street and stormwater drainage improvements along portions of Wakeforest Avenue, Duke Street and Rice Boulevard, according to city documents. The proposed improvements to the city’s stormwater sewer system could mean flood waters would not reach beyond the homes of residents in a 100-year rain event, according to city documents.

The project timeline for the citywide drainage study started in 2019 with its Phase 1 assessment. The design phase took place in fall 2021.