Harris County commissioners approved a $20.5 million contract for construction services with Burnside Services Inc. at a Sept. 29 meeting, with construction expected to begin sometime this fall. The project, part of an ongoing partnership between the county and the federal government to reduce flood damage along the bayou, involves widening the bayou between Hollister Street in Houston and FM 1960 north of Jersey Village.
The project will also extend the White Oak Bayou Hike and Bike Trail in Houston from Hollister Street south to the Ranchstone Stormwater Detention Basin. The trail will be closed while construction is ongoing.
Construction on the project is slated for completion by the end of 2021. Once completed it, an estimated 1,500 structures will be removed from the 100-year flood plain. In Jersey Village, city officials have previously estimated that the bayou widening—along with a second, separate project to expand the city golf course's capacity to hold storm water—will together remove 62 homes from the flood plain within city limits.
The project is being funded with roughly $29 million in funding approved for the Harris County Flood Control District in a 2018 bond referendum.
"More and more communities are seeing the real-world benefits from the investment Harris County voters made in our long-neglected drainage system," Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said in a statement. "As a result, our entire community is better positioned to weather future storms."
The partnership between the county and the federal government has been underway since 1998 and entails $124 million in improvements. Additional work to widen the bayou from west of Cole Creek to Hollister Street in Houston is under development and is expected to cost the county around $13.5 million.
The flood control district is expected to seek construction bids on that segment of the bayou this fall. The two widening projects together will make use of roughly $95 million in federal dollars.