W129-00-00 Channel Enclosure Project
Updated October 2013
CURRENT CONSTRUCTION STATUS AS OF OCTOBER 3, 2013:
On October 3, the Harris County Flood Control District reopened all lanes of the San Felipe Street bridge located at the railroad tracks just east of Mid Lane inside West Loop 610 in the Galleria area. The bridge was closed September 23 to all traffic while the 50-year-old bridge was demolished and replaced. Crews worked extended hours to expedite completion and minimize inconvenience.
This marks the completion of the second phase of the Flood Control District's W129-00-00 Channel Enclosure Project, which included the enclosure of the existing drainage channel in dual 12-foot by 10-foot reinforced concrete box culverts from San Felipe to Richmond, and the demolition and replacement of 50-year-old bridges that cross the drainage channel at Westheimer Road and at San Felipe.
PROJECT DETAILS AND TIMELINE
The Flood Control District recognized the need for repairs to W129-00-00 and launched a three-phase reconstruction project in 2004. The project's 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.
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
The third phase, which has not yet been designed or funded for construction, will span the section of channel between Richmond Avenue 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.