W129-00-00 Channel Enclosure Project
Updated April 2013
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 will also include
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 and drivers.
Work on the San Felipe bridge is expected to begin in summer 2013, and all lanes will be closed for up to
two weeks. The Flood Control District will send an update when this bridge closure has been scheduled.
Signs announcing the San Felipe bridge closure date will be installed in the area prior to the closure.
The Flood Control District will also send 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
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 to 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
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 lane closures 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
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 PROJECT
||August 15, 2011
|Westheimer Road Bridge reconstruction
||March 10, 2013 – April 4, 2013 (partial bridge closure for 25 days)
|San Felipe Street Bridge reconstruction
||Summer 2013 (complete bridge closure for approximately two weeks)
||Fall 2013 (estimated)