Repairs made to eroded bayou banks
Harris County Flood Control District officials say they have filled and secured a hole in White Oak Bayou that, if left unchecked, could have damaged the bayou's banks and an adjacent hike-and-bike trail on the south side of the section of bayou that runs through the city of Jersey Village.
The scour hole" had developed near the bottom of the channel between Beltway 8 and Jersey Village's Ecuador Street, said Heather Saucier, the Harris County Flood Control District's spokeswoman.
Crews on the $492,000 maintenance project repaired the bayou's severely eroded side slopes by filling the hole, rebuilding the slopes and lining them with rock to reduce the risk of future erosion, Saucier said. Several drainage pipes that carry stormwater into the bayou also were replaced.
The project launched in October and wrapped up recently, she said. The project was funded through Harris County ad valorem property taxes.
Saucier said a scour hole is a void that can occur naturally in the bottom of a channel or near the channel's toe where the side slopes meet the bottom and is caused by poor soils or by turbulent motions of the water. These holes can eventually undermine the integrity of a channel and its banks, and if left unaddressed, the eroded slopes along this portion of White Oak Bayou could have led to slope failure, undermining the integrity of the bayou.
The longer erosion is left unaddressed, the larger a problem it can become and the more expensive it can be to repair," Saucier said.
Mike Castro, Jersey Village city manager, said the flood control responded quickly when city leaders raised concerns about erosion on White Oak Bayou.
The most heavily eroded section of the bayou was near a popular hike-and-bike trail," Castro said. If the improvements had not been made soon, the city would have considered closing a portion of the trail."
Saucier said the maintenance project did not interfere with or delay the Harris County Flood Control District's larger Jersey Village channel project.
The Jersey Village channel project is wrapping up as we speak," Saucier said. Construction is complete and crews are currently dressing the site, meaning they are planting grass to stabilize the banks and to reduce chances of erosion."
That $6.3 million project formerly known as the Jersey Village bypass" project widened and slightly deepened that channel from a drainage channel near Philippine Street on the east side of Beltway 8 to White Oak Bayou on the west side of Beltway 8.
Nearly every citizen of Jersey Village anxiously awaits the completion of this project," Castro said. County and city efforts have considerably reduced the likelihood of flooding within Jersey Village. The reduction of flooding potential within the community adds significantly to the quality of life for residents."
The channel project is part of the larger Jersey Village flood prevention project," which is designed to reduce water levels in the bayou and bypass during heavy rainstorms, said flood control officials. That, in turn, reduces the chance that the bayou will overflow into streets, and possibly, nearby homes.
In 1998, 2001 and 2002 several homes flooded in Jersey Village after, respectively, tropical storms Frances, Alison and a heavy rainstorm hit the Houston region.
Even though the Jersey Village bypass was in place, two dams" at the Sam Houston Tollway prevented any water from flowing east of that roadway. The runoff water from homes and businesses south of West Road and north of the city filled up the bypass channel and flowed into the part of White Oak Bayou that runs through Jersey Village. The extra volume from the bypass put a heavy strain on the already overloaded White Oak Bayou.
The Jersey Village flood prevention project has four major components, including three detention ponds and the bypass channel.
The Fallbrook detention basin at Fallbrook Drive and Jones Road can store up to 77 million gallons of stormwater. That project took about two years to complete and cost about $6.9 million.
The $2.3 million Ranchstone detention basin at Jones Road and the White Oak Bayou intersection is completed and can store up to 98 million gallons of stormwater.
The third detention basin will be located on a 43-acre site on the Jersey Meadows Golf Course, and will hold about 114 million gallons of water when completed. That project is in the preliminary engineering phase, Saucier said. Following that phase is final design, plans and specifications.
About 25-30 percent of the site has been excavated through an excavation removal contract.
Flood control district officials say that when all parts of the Jersey Village project are completed, it is projected that White Oak Bayou at Beltway 8 will be about 8 inches lower during a 100-year storm (a storm that has a 1 percent chance of occurring each year); about one foot lower during a 25-year storm (a storm that has a 4 percent chance of occurring each year); and two feet for the 10-year storm (a storm that has a 10 percent chance of occurring each year).
In the past decade, the flood control district has spent about $28 million on construction for capital improvement projects in the upper White Oak Bayou watershed, Saucier said. Another $835,000 has been spent on maintenance projects, such as the recent project in Jersey Village.