Jersey Village officials relieved after Harris County approves next step of White Oak Bayou improvement project

Harris County and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will team up on a project to widen White Oak Bayou.

Harris County and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will team up on a project to widen White Oak Bayou.

At a March 27 meeting, Harris County commissioners advanced several area flood projects, one of which has been a long time coming for Jersey Village residents.

Based on a recommendation from the Harris County Flood Control District, commissioners authorized the county to begin negotiations with Cobb, Fendley & Associates on engineering services for channel improvements along White Oak Bayou between Tidwell Road and FM 1960, including the part that runs through Jersey Village.

The news brought relief to city officials in Jersey Village, which was spared during Hurricane Harvey but experienced flooding at 238 properties during the Tax Day Flood in 2016.

"We are very excited that the commissioners court approved this request from HCFCD," Jersey Village City Manager Austin Bleess said. "We are hopeful that the negotiations move forward quickly and that they can move into the design and construction phase soon."

Bleess was among the speakers to express support for the project during the public comment portion of the meeting. He said the channel improvements were identified in a longterm flood recovery plan the city adopted in 2017, but the city itself had little power to move things forward without the county's help.

Of the 163 homes that would flood in a 100-year event in Jersey Village, about 62 would be removed from the 100-year floodplain by completing the White Oak Bayou improvements and a second project to expand storage capacity at the Jersey Meadow Golf Course, according to the study.

Jersey Village Councilman Andrew Mitcham, who also spoke at the meeting, said city residents find themselves in a sort of bottleneck, where the portion of the bayou is narrower in Jersey Village than it is upstream and downstream. He said the key to preventing floods is bayou capacity.

"At some point the bayou stops being our friend and it starts being our enemy," he said. "[This project] improves the efficiency and capacity of the bayou, allowing the bayou to stay our friend for longer."

Work on the project—officially called the White Oak Bayou Federal Flood Damage Reduction Project—started in 1998 as a collaboration between Harris County and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, but has been stalled for the last few years due to a lack of funding. Jersey Village benefited from previous parts of this project—including a bypass channel completed in 2010 and a detention basin completed in 2014.

The improvements that were set in motion at the March 27 meeting represent the last major piece of the puzzle. Because the USACE has already partnered on the project, HCFCD officials are hopeful it will benefit from a boost in funding for the USACE intended to help areas affected by hurricanes in 2017.

County officials told Bleess the design process would take about one year to complete, and the construction process could take an additional year.

Michael Stembridge, who also spoke at the meeting, said his house flooded during Tropical Storm Frances in 1998, Tropical Storm Allison in 2001 and the Tax Day Flood in 2016, and that water came within feet from the door during Hurricane Harvey.

"We think that this will be our saving grace," he said. "We really are begging for it.”
SHARE THIS STORY
By Shawn Arrajj

Shawn Arrajj serves as the editor of the Cy-Fair edition of Community Impact Newspaper where he covers the Cy-Fair and Jersey Village communities. He mainly writes about development, transportation and issues in Harris County.


MOST RECENT

Council Member James Singleton (left) and Drew Wasson (right) are among the three incumbents who will run unopposed to retain their seats in May 2020 elections. Mayor Andrew Mitcham (center) is not up for election until 2021. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)
Jersey Village City Council members up for election this May draw no challengers

With the deadline passed for candidates to file, the incumbents will all run unopposed.

Pier 1 Imports in in the process of closing 450 stores nationwide. (Hunter Marrow/Community Impact)
Pier 1 Imports to close Willowbrook location Feb. 26

The home decor store is offering 60% off most remaining merchandise.

Harris County ESD No. 9 supports local fire and ambulance services. (Courtesy Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department)
Three candidates to compete for two Harris County ESD No. 9 commissioner seats this May

The two candidates with the most votes this May will win seats on the board of commissioners.

Three candidates are running in the Democratic primary for Texas' 10th congressional district. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Q&A: Democratic candidates for U.S. representative for District 10 discuss area concerns, immigration policy

Three candidates are running in the Democratic primary for Texas' 10th congressional district.

Undrai Fizer and Natali Hurtado are running in the Democratic primary March 3 for state representative District 126.
Q&A: Democratic candidates for state District 126 representative discuss flooding, public education

Two candidates are running in the District 126 Democratic primary March 3.

Early voting begins Feb. 18; see who is on the ballot in Cy-Fair

In the Cy-Fair area, voters will have the chance to choose candidates at the federal level as well as at the state level and at the local level.

Nexus Park NorthWest is being planned on 45 acres at FM 1960 and Bobcat Road in Cy-Fair. (Rendering courtesy Jackson-Shaw)
Jackson-Shaw to build industrial business park on 45 acres at FM 1960 and Bobcat Road

The northwest Houston area continues to attract developers looking to build industrial projects.

Pho Bo 2 is now open on Barker Cypress Road in Cypress. (Courtesy Pho Bo)
Pho Bo opens second location on Barker Cypress Road

Pho Bo 2 is up and running as of January.

Nancy Johnston (right) will continue to run the Drama Kids program at Cy-Fair Music & Arts while Valentina Jotovic (left) and her husband take ownership of the business (Courtesy Cy-Fair Music & Arts)
Cy-Fair Music and Arts under new ownership

Located at 7103 Glen Chase Court, Houston, the music school was formerly owned by its founder Nancy Johnston.

The Texas Department of Transportation has announced several lane closures along Hwy. 290 in Cy-Fair this weekend. (Courtesy Fotolia)
16 Hwy. 290 lane closures affecting Cy-Fair drivers this weekend, Feb. 14-16

The Texas Department of Transportation has announced the following lane closures planned along Hwy. 290 this weekend.

Justin Ray and Merrilee Beazley are both running in the Republican primary election for Texas Representative in District 135.
Q&A: Two candidates square off in Republican primary race for Texas House District 135

Candidates give their thoughts on flood control, property taxes and public schools.

Millennium Physicians will move into the Memorial Hermann Cypress Hospital campus in 2020.
Millennium Physicians leases space at Memorial Hermann Cypress campus

Doctors will move in around third quarter 2020.

Back to top