Harris County commissioners voted Tuesday to speed up work on 86 drainage projects across the county, cutting more than 18 months off of the estimated completion dates.
This means that projects previously set for completion after the 2024 hurricane season could be finished before the start of the 2023 season.
Several of these projects are in the Baytown, Highlands and Crosby areas.
“We know flooding can hit us at any time, but getting these projects done in advance of not just one but two hurricane seasons could protect thousands of homes outside the floodplain,” County Judge Lina Hidalgo said.
Hidalgo said that every subdivision in unincorporated areas of the country that flooded during Hurricane Harvey despite being outside the floodplain were examined. “There were 105 of those subdivisions with a total of almost 10,000 homes,” Hidalgo said.
Those homes flooded not because of rising water in bayous, but because of inadequate drainage that kept rainwater from reaching the bayous.
To speed up the projects, Hidalgo said the county will advance money for the design of the projects rather than wait to access federal funds before starting.
In a related action, commissioners also approved new water detention requirements for unincorporated areas of the county.
“Everyone is downstream from some development or planned development,” she said. “The new detention requirements will help protect against that. They will require developers to build enough detention to offset possible flooding impacts on downstream communities.”
One project is in the Baytown area:
• Cedar Bayou Park East and West (66 of the 167 structures within the project boundary flooded during Harvey)
Two projects are in the Highlands area:
• Creel Country Estates (20 of the 137 structures flooded)
• Highland Ridge and Highland Estates (27 of the 40 structures flooded)
Four projects are in the Crosby area:
• Crosby Township/MUD (22 of the 91 structures flooded)
• Barrett Station (Dreamland Place - 21 of the 231 structures flooded)
• Barrett Station (Barrett Settlement and St. Charles Place - 13 of the 472 structures flooded)
• Apache Land (34 of the 49 structures flooded).