The Harris County Flood Control District has temporarily reopened the bridge over Brays Bayou at Ardmore Street while the construction contractor completes construction activities that do not require traffic detours. The Flood Control District began coordinated construction November 19 to modify or replace three existing bridges over Brays Bayou with new higher, wider and/or longer spans that will improve the conveyance of stormwater along Brays Bayou in south central Harris County.
The bridge at Ardmore Street is expected to remain open through the end of this calendar year as project activities continue in connection with utility relocation. The Buffalo Speedway bridge also was closed for construction November 19 and currently remains closed for approximately one year. Construction on the Stella Link Road bridge will follow reopening of the new Buffalo Speedway bridge.
Construction on the bridge project officially began November 19 with the closure of both the Buffalo Speedway and Ardmore Street bridges, in keeping with traffic plans and following a two-week notification period with public notice signs in the construction area. Since then, however, the Flood Control District determined that it could safely keep the Ardmore Street bridge open through the holiday period, without significant delays in construction work. During this time, the Flood Control District also plans to meet with neighborhood groups that have requested additional information about the project.
The Buffalo Speedway, Ardmore Street and Stella Link Road bridges will be the 18th, 19th and 20th bridge modifications constructed by the Flood Control District as part of $480 million Project Brays, a 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. (A new bridge over Brays Bayou at Forest Hill Boulevard has been under construction since July 2018. The final segment of channel modifications as part of Project Brays, between Loop 610 and Fondren Road in the Meyerland area, also has been under construction since the summer of 2018.)
Construction of all three bridges has been coordinated to reduce traffic disruptions:
- Buffalo Speedway and Stella Link Road bridges will not be closed at the same time.
- All lanes of the Buffalo Speedway bridge will be closed for approximately one year. The main detour through this area will be via Kirby Drive and Stella Link Road.
- All lanes of the Ardmore Street bridge also will be closed for approximately one year. The main detour through this area will be via Scott Street and State Highway 288.
- Stella Link Road bridges will not be closed to traffic until the Buffalo Speedway bridge is reopened.
- All Stella Link Road traffic will be shifted to one of the Stella Link Road bridges while the other is under construction.
Residents and motorists are encouraged to remain alert to changing conditions, and to pay attention to all posted lane closure and detour signs.
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 structures at risk from a 1 percent (100-year) flood from 16,800 to 1,800.