The Harris County Flood Control District has begun construction on the final phase of channel modifications as part of the Brays Bayou federal flood damage reduction project – Project Brays. During this construction phase, Brays Bayou will be widened between Loop 610 and Fondren Road in the Meyerland area.
On June 26, 2018, Harris County Commissioners Court awarded an $11.72 million construction contract to lowest qualified bidder Serco Construction Group Ltd. for the channel improvement project. Preliminary work began in mid-July and is expected to be complete in approximately one year.
During this construction phase, Brays Bayou will be widened along an approximately 15,000-foot section from upstream of Loop 610 to 300 feet upstream of Fondren Road. (Bayou improvements will be made on the northern bank only between Loop 610 and South Rice Avenue.) A previous channel improvement segment from Buffalo Speedway to Loop 610, which began construction about one year ago, is approximately 90 percent complete. Additional bridge modification projects also are in or nearing the construction phase.
As part of the newest project, the Flood Control District will excavate approximately 289,000 cubic yards of soil, and will construct retaining walls under existing bridges. The project also will install new outfalls and headwalls, and rebuild trails along the bayou in the project area. These operations require the use of large trucks to carry excavated soil from the construction site for off-site disposal, and to mix and pour concrete for the retaining walls. Motorists and pedestrians are encouraged to be alert to heavy equipment traffic near construction access points.
Project Brays is a $480 million cooperative effort between the Flood Control District and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Project Brays includes the widening of 21 miles of Brays Bayou in 13 separate channel modification project segments, the modification of 32 bridges, and the construction of four stormwater detention basins with a combined capacity of 3.5 billion gallons.
When Project Brays is complete, it is expected to provide a 1 percent (100-year) level of flood protection upstream (west) of the Sam Houston Tollway. In areas downstream (east) of the tollway, Project Brays will reduce the number of structures at risk from a 1 percent (100-year) flood from 16,800 to 1,800.