The Harris County Flood Control District is making progress on the major maintenance of Cypress Creek and its tributaries, a project included in the district’s 2018 bond program, with some portions already ahead of schedule.

Jonathan St. Romain, the department manager of south capital projects for the HCFCD, provided project updates during an Aug. 4 virtual presentation.

He said the goal of the project is to restore certain areas of the main stem of Cypress Creek and some of its tributaries to their original designed conveyance capacity rather than expanding or widening them. This may be done by removing accumulated sediment from the channel, replacing outfall pipes, erosion repairs, clearing vegetation to re-establish maintenance berms, repairing concrete channel lining where needed and removing encroachments from the HCFCD's right of way.

“Repairing and restoring channels back to their original design allows for channels to convey or move stormwater runoff from the watershed. It enhances positive drainage and restores the channel capacity,” he said.

The $60 million project is split up into four or five batches of construction to maximize the number of crews working at any given time.

Construction on Batch 1 began in June 2021 and includes about 8 miles of work across seven different channels south of Spring Cypress Road in the Spring area. The $14 million effort is ahead of schedule and set to be completed this summer.

Batch 2 construction began late last year and is slated for completion in the third quarter of this year. The $3.3 million batch covers nearly 6 miles of work across nine channels north of Cypress Creek near Hwy. 249.

Construction on Batch 3 began last month and is expected to be completed in summer 2024. Nearly 6 miles of work across 12 channels is estimated to cost $10.8 million.

Bidding should take place later this year on Batch 4, which will cover 4 miles of work across several tributaries and start construction in early 2023.

The scope of the final batch is unknown and will depend on the amount of funding leftover from previous batches, but St. Romain said it will include channel repairs along the main stem of Cypress Creek.

These efforts, except for certain segments of the main stem of Cypress Creek, are all for newly built channels or ones that have been altered from their natural state. St. Romain said environmental restrictions prevent work on natural channels unless the flood control district receives the appropriate permits, which is a costly and time-consuming process.

A separate ongoing effort in the Cypress Creek funded by a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant focuses on sediment removal.

Seven watersheds were included in this $223 million program to remove excess sediment deposited due to extreme flooding during Hurricane Harvey. The Cypress Creek watershed is receiving $24.3 million of that funding for sediment removal, and construction is expected to begin in late 2023, St. Romain said.

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