Posted May 14, 2018
The goal is to begin dredging the West Fork San Jacinto River in mid-June, Eduardo Irigoyen, project manager with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District said.
According to Irigoyen, the dredging project will span from about 2.5 miles west of West Lake Houston Parkway to about a quarter-mile east of West Lake Houston Parkway.
The project’s cost will not be determined until after the bidding process. However, Irigoyen said the estimated cost range is between $25 million and $100 million. Funding is expected to come from FEMA through the Stafford Act, he said.
“The project management team is working on completing the plans and specifications and are working to issue them out for bid as quickly as possible,” Irigoyen said.
Dredging was deemed necessary after floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey rushed downstream and caused sand and siltation to build up in the San Jacinto River. The sand and silt displaces water and limits the river’s capacity to hold floodwaters within its banks, creating a greater threat of flooding to the Lake Houston area.
Governor Greg Abbott helped fast track the dredging when he authorized funding from the state’s hazard and mitigation fund to conduct a study of the entire riverbed to figure out what type of sand dredging could be done to alleviate flooding in March.
The USACE completed the engineering study May 4 and determined where dredging operations would best prevent future flooding.
Flood risk management experts and hydrologic surveying experts performed the study from May 1 through May 4. There were also surveys conducted in April, explained Jacob Walsdorf, US Army Corps of Engineers district value engineer, in a video recapping the study.