The $2.05 million project, which is being funded by a 2016 Texas General Land Office grant, will consist of desilting the ditch bottom from Cantertrot Drive to the confluence of Black's Branch and addressing issues with the channel's slopes and retaining walls, city officials said.
The channel, located near Deerbrook Mall, has been associated with flooding in the Northshire neighborhood during the Tax Day flood in April 2016, Hurricane Harvey in August 2017 and Tropical Storm Imelda in September 2019. In a post-Harvey review, the Harris County Flood Control District deemed the ditch eroded.
According to Blake Barringer, a project manager with Bleyl Engineering, the original request for bids that went out for the project Aug. 16 did not include information regarding the prevailing wage rate, which he said was required to obtain the GLO grant funding.
“Grant projects have a lot of documents that come from GLO,” Barringer said. “There's a lot of coordination with city staff and the GLO involved in that, and unfortunately, there were two documents that were missing from the bid packets that are mandatory for GLO to say that you are within their restrictions to accept those bids.”
After being asked by Mayor Norman Funderburk whether there were any opportunities to shorten the construction timeline, Barringer said any efforts to reduce the timeline could lead to higher bids from contractors. Barringer noted, however, the city could potentially reduce the closeout phase of the project, which he said usually takes 60 days.
“I certainly think that timetable could also be reduced down to something maybe like 30 to 45 days there,” Barringer said.
Funderburk said he agreed the contractors should not be rushed.
“This is a high-profile project,” Funderburk said. “We don't want to compromise any of the work certainly by rushing the contractors. We do want to see a sense of urgency about what's left.”
The 180-day project was originally estimated to be completed by March 11, 2023. With the delay, the estimated completion date for the project is now April 8, 2023.