W129-00-00 Channel Enclosure Project
Updated September 2013
CURRENT CONSTRUCTION STATUS AS OF SEPTEMBER 23, 2013
On Sept. 23, the Harris County Flood Control District closed the San Felipe Street bridge located at the railroad tracks just east of Mid Lane inside West Loop 610 in the Galleria area. Weather permitting, the 50-year-old bridge will be closed to all traffic for up to two weeks while it is demolished and replaced. Crews will be working extended hours to expedite completion and minimize inconvenience.
Please note: Road closures and construction schedules are subject to change. The Flood Control District will notify the public if there are additional modifications to this schedule.
The W129-00-00 Channel Enclosure Project is a project of the Harris County Flood Control District. Its purpose is to improve the stormwater-carrying capacity and public safety features associated with a poorly functioning drainage channel, formally identified as HCFCD Unit W129-00-00, in the Highland Village area. This phase of the project includes the section of the drainage channel from San Felipe Street to Richmond Avenue adjacent to the Union Pacific Railroad tracks just inside West Loop 610.
PROJECT DETAILS AND TIMELINE
The W129-00-00 Channel Enclosure Project will enclose the existing drainage channel in dual 12-foot by 10-foot reinforced concrete box culverts from San Felipe to Richmond. The project also includes the demolition and replacement of 50-year-old bridges that cross the drainage channel at Westheimer Road and at San Felipe.
Construction on the drainage channel began in August 2011 and is ongoing.
Work on the Westheimer bridge began on March 10, 2013 and was completed on April
4, 2013 – ahead of schedule – to help minimize the inconvenience to area residents
Work on the San Felipe bridge began Sept. 23, 2013, and weather permitting, all lanes will be closed for up to two weeks. Signs announcing the San Felipe bridge closure date were installed in the area prior to the closure. The Flood Control District also sent an advisory to area residents and other interested parties in advance of the bridge closure.
The project schedule is subject to change due to construction or weather issues.
The Flood Control District recognized the need for repairs to W129-00-00 and launched
a three-phase reconstruction project in 2004. The first phase of the project consisted
of replacing eroded sections of the drainage channel between San Felipe and Buffalo
Bayou. This $9.4 million project added depth and capacity to the drainage channel
by enclosing it in dual 12-foot by 10-foot reinforced concrete box culverts. That
phase of the project was completed in 2006.
The second and current phase began in August 2011 and focuses on the section of
the drainage channel from San Felipe to Richmond. This phase is expected to cost
$13.2 million. The City of Houston is contributing funds to the bridge replacements
at Westheimer and San Felipe.
The third phase, which has not yet been designed or funded for construction, will
span the section of channel between Richmond and Westpark Drive.
Failing concrete side slopes along the drainage
channel formally identified as W129-00-00 have caused erosion and have affected
the integrity of the infrastructure.
The W129-00-00 drainage channel will be enclosed
in dual 12-foot by 10-foot reinforced concrete box culverts, as shown in this picture
of the section of the drainage channel completed in the project's first phase.
The Flood Control District is committed to communicating information about the project
to affected individuals and organizations so that citizens can make informed decisions
to minimize inconvenience during construction. In addition to installing signage
detailing alternate routes in the area, District officials have met with local homeowners’
and civic associations, churches, schools, businesses and transportation and emergency
services providers to provide information about the project and to answer questions.
The District is also distributing alternate route information to the media (Internet,
print, radio and television).
To sign up to receive regular e-mail updates, please click on the “Subscribe to
receive W129-00-00 Channel Enclosure Project updates” link in the right column at
the top of this page. To ask a question, to comment on the project or to request
a presentation for your organization, please call the Harris County Flood Control
District’s Project and Study Information Line, which is monitored daily, at 713-684-4040.
ABOUT THE W129-00-00 DRAINAGE DITCH
The W129-00-00 drainage channel flows northward from Westpark Drive inside West
Loop 610 and runs parallel to the Union Pacific Railroad tracks. It drains into
Buffalo Bayou on the southern edge of the City of Houston’s Memorial Park. Along
its approximately 2-mile route, W129-00-00 crosses under U.S. 59, Richmond, Westheimer
and San Felipe, all of which carry heavy loads of traffic between the Galleria area
and downtown Houston. The drainage channel is bordered by concentrated areas of
residential and commercial development.
The Harris County Flood Control District has been maintaining the drainage channel
since the mid-1950s. The drainage channel has exceeded its design life, and over
time the slopes of W129-00-00 have experienced concrete failures and erosion. The
easement for the drainage channel is restricted to a narrow 35-foot area, and that
property is owned by Union Pacific Railroad and CenterPoint Energy.
CONSTRUCTION SCHEDULE FOR W129-00-00 CHANNEL ENCLOSURE
August 15, 2011
Westheimer Road Bridge reconstruction
March 10, 2013 – April 4, 2013 (partial bridge closure for 25 days)
San Felipe Street Bridge reconstruction
September 23, 2013 (total bridge closure for approximately two weeks)
Fall 2013 (estimated)