Mar 26, 2018

Harris County Considers Storm Water Drainage Tunnels

The Commissioners Court will vote March 27 on whether to pursue a feasibility study for the storm water management project

Harris County considers storm water drainage tunnels

The Harris County Flood Control District proposed building drainage tunnels throughout the Texas county to carry storm water from west Houston east towards Galveston Bay and protect flood-prone neighborhoods. The storm water drainage project would involve a network of tunnels to carry water from Houston waterways, including White Oak Bayou, Hunting Bayou, Greens Bayou, Halls Bayou, Buffalo Bayou, Clear Creek and Cypress Creek. Ultimately, the project would seek to contain an 100-year storm event, as reported by the Houston Chronicle.

The project would come with a hefty price tag, however. The West Houston Assn. estimates the project would cost $75 million to $100 million per mile to construct the storm water drainage tunnels, meaning approximately $6 billion to run a flood tunnel from the Addicks and Barker reservoirs to the Port of Houston. Officials from the flood control district favor the idea because an underground solution would displace less people than widening bayous or conducting by-outs for instance.

“We’re trying to lower the risk; we’re never going to be able to totally eliminate the risk,” said Steve Costello, Houston’s flood czar. “Well, a tunnel system, quite possibly, could eliminate the risk.”

The Commissioners Court will vote March 27 on whether to pursue a feasibility study for the project. If the study is approved, it is expected to be completed by late October.

 

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