stemming the tide

Major Houston bayou set for significant improvements to prevent flooding

Major Houston bayou set for significant improvements to prevent floods

White Oak Bayou
White Oak Bayou will undergo much-needed flood mitigation.

The waters of White Oak Bayou offer a serene view for walkers, joggers, and passers-by, but they also present an imminent danger during flood and hurricane season. To that end, a new project aims to stem its rising waters to make life around the bayou safer.

Appropriately dubbed The White Oak Bayou Federal Project, the new directive, in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is a multi-year plan aimed at reducing flooding in the bayou watershed. The first of two final White Oak Bayou projects begins this week and is expected to be completed by the end of 2021, according to a press release.

Locals should plan for heavy equipment and construction crews along the bayou between F.M. 1960 and Hollister Street, the Harris County Commissioners Court advises. The $20.6 million effort will widen White Oak Bayou and replace or modify storm pipes and outfall structures, per a release. Work will also be done on the inflow and outflow weirs to the stormwater detention basins.

“With another damaging hurricane season coming to a close, I know it will give some comfort to residents along this stretch of White Oak Bayou to know that Harris County is delivering on its promise to make major improvements in the area that will reduce flooding risks,” said Commissioner R. Jack Cagle, in a statement. “While no one can guarantee that any area of southeast Texas will never flood, these improvements will substantially reduce that risk, and we will all be thankful when work is completed next year.”

As expected with an undertaking of this magnitude, construction crews may temporarily close lanes for the safety of both motorists and workers. Motorists are urged to be alert to truck traffic when passing near construction access points and along truck routes.

Meanwhile, hike and bike trail closures are anticipated within the project area during construction, according to the county.