Oak Ridge North approves initial contract for Westwood Drive drainage project

oak ridge north
Oak Ridge North City Council held its first regular meeting of 2020 on Jan. 13. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)

Oak Ridge North City Council held its first regular meeting of 2020 on Jan. 13. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)

Updated Jan. 14 10:49 a.m.

Oak Ridge North residents around southern Westwood Drive could soon see relief from recurring flooding there after City Council approved an engineering contract for a new drainage project in the area during its regular Jan. 13 meeting.

The project would involve the construction of new inlets and drainage lines in back property along Westwood and Wedgewood Court south of Hillside Drive, where stormwater has recently flooded several backyards, homes and garages during rain events. The new construction would connect the affected properties to existing drainage infrastructure nearby.

“All of the water from that area, instead of getting into a ditch, ... is actually running through the backyards, and we’ve had at least three or four of those houses flood every time it rains,” Public Works Director Joe Sherwin said. “There is a lot of water that’s coming down that way."

Sherwin said the inlet initiative falls within the guidelines of the city’s 2016 Master Drainage Plan, which also called for the improvement of ditches along Hillside Court. That smaller project would be included with the inlet construction project this year, Sherwin said, and local homeowners would be consulted with for the locations of the new inlets.

Council voted unanimously to award a $30,000 contract to McManus & Johnson Consulting Engineers for the survey and design of the initiative. The funding comes from a $90,000 capital improvement allocation, the remainder of which will be spent on the project’s construction. According to a preliminary project schedule, the new drainage system could be completed this summer.

During the Monday evening session, council also approved a final payment for rights of way on three properties needed for the realignment of Robinson Road at Westwood included in an upcoming Montgomery County Precinct 3 project. Sherwin said all three property owners signed offer letters for the rights of way. He added that around $3,000 of closing fees for two properties would eventually be added to the total acquisition costs of $88,827.10. An additional $22,035 was used for drawing revisions, bringing the city's overall project cost so far to $110,862.10, not including those fees—well under the city’s budgeted $160,000.

The county could begin work on the Robinson-Westwood intersection redesign and Woodlands Parkway overpass signalization project by late February, according to city officials. A combined $3.82 million bid for that project and the widening of a portion of Lake Woodlands Drive was approved by commissioners court Jan. 14, after an initial bid approved by the county last year was rejected and rebid.

Council also approved contracting the county to hold the city's May 2 election, which will include local races for mayor and council seats 1 and 3. A final cost for the contract will be determined at a later date by Montgomery County Elections Administrator Suzie Harvey. The city budgeted $12,500 for election costs in 2019 but canceled the vote after no races were contested, while the election held in 2018 cost $13,420. The candidacy filing period for the May election begins Jan. 15 and ends Feb. 14.
By Ben Thompson
Ben joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2019 as a reporter for The Woodlands area and began working as Austin's City Hall reporter in April 2021.