Houston receives $43 million in federal funds to start North Canal project, cover Wortham Center repairs

A federal grant will allow the city and county to move forward on a flood control project to create a canal between White Oak and Buffalo Bayous.

A federal grant will allow the city and county to move forward on a flood control project to create a canal between White Oak and Buffalo Bayous.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved a $2.66 million grant to the city of Houston to begin the design, permitting and environmental assessment of the proposed North Canal project, the city announced Oct. 11.

“More than two years after Hurricane Harvey, federal government funding is flowing into Houston to save lives and protect property on a massive scale,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said in a news release. “The North Canal is a landmark project, developed by the city, to minimize the devastation that may come with the next big storm.”

The $131 million North Canal project would reroute White Oak Bayou along downtown, add an overflow channel east of downtown, and improve bridges and channels along Yale Street and Heights Boulevard to provide additional water conveyance capacity.

Other funding sources include $25 million from the Memorial Heights Redevelopment Authority
and $20 million from the city, the Harris County Flood Control District and the Texas Department of Transportation.

In concept, the project has been proposed for several years. The Buffalo Bayou Partnership noted it as potential project as early as 2002, according to a flood control district report.

The project could be completed by 2022, according to the city's news release.

Another $37 million in FEMA funding was approved to reimburse Houston First for repairs to the Wortham Theater Center and Fish Plaza in downtown Houston, which sustained an estimated $100 million in damage during Hurricane Harvey. The theater reopened in September 2018.
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