A project slated to lessen flooding along a portion of FM 2920 west of Hwy. 249 in Tomball is in its early stages, Harris County officials said.
The area along FM 2920 between Calvert and Park roads floods often, as there is no place for water on the north side of FM 2920 to go, Tomball city officials said.
“[The project] will address some of that flooding that’s right there at [FM] 2920 once it gets done,” Assistant City Manager David Esquivel said.
The two-phase project, designed and constructed by the Harris County Flood Control District, seeks to improve the flow of stormwater along a drainage channel—designated as M124 by the HCFCD—from the FM 2920 area south to where it ends at Willow Creek, said Alan Black, director of the HCFCD’s engineering division.
“The improvements to that channel have long been on the radar for a number of different agencies, [such as]the city of Tomball [and the]county flood control district,” Black said.
The city of Tomball funded a feasibility study for extension improvements to M124 in 2008, according to city documents, which found the construction cost at that time to total more than $20 million, excluding engineering work and the cost to relocate utilities.
M124 exists south of FM 2920, Black said, but there is no place for water collected in detention ponds near Hwy. 249 north of FM 2920 to flow. Part of the project will connect the two areas so there is a place for water to eventually flow south into Willow Creek.
“It’s a two-phase approach that we’re employing with this,” Black said.
Phase I will expand detention capacity and extend the channel north of FM 2920, located behind Lowe’s, to connect with a roadside ditch north of FM 2920 and is expected to be sent for construction bids in 2019, Black said.
This part of the project is in conjunction with the Harris County Toll Road Authority’s ongoing extension of Hwy. 249, as HCTRA had to add drainage to the tollway extension, HCTRA Director of Engineering John Tyler said.
“The ditch sort of ends [north of FM 2920], [and]those detention ponds once they fill up are supposed to flow to somewhere,” Tyler said. “All they do at that point is go into an overland flow, and because of that [the Lowe’s shopping center floods].”
Tyler said HCTRA partnered with the Texas Department of Transportation to help get water off FM 2920 by expanding TxDOT’s detention area behind the shopping center. In return, TxDOT committed $20 million for the M124 project.
The second phase of the project extends and widens M124 south to Willow Creek and constructs stormwater detention, Black said. Additionally, TxDOT will likely build culverts under FM 2920 at that time to allow water from Phase 1 to flow to Willow Creek, he said.
“The second phase will be the far more comprehensive phase,” he said. “That’s a multiyear effort.”
Although Black said he could not provide a construction timeline—as it is dependent on remaining right of way being acquired—Harris County Commissioners Court approved a $901,245 agreement Nov. 13 with LJA Engineering Inc. to conduct a preliminary engineering report, the impetus for Phase 2.
Additionally a community engagement meeting will be held next year, Black said. After that time final design work can begin.
In addition to $20 million from TxDOT, HCTRA has committed $20 million for the project, Tyler said. An additional $21 million was allocated in the $2.5 billion bond referendum approved by Harris County voters in August, according to HCFCD data.
“It benefits all of us when we’re all done with it,” Tyler said.