Residents along Brays Bayou eager for widening project to finish

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- As rain moves into the Houston area, families living along Brays Bayou are thinking about the bayou widening project and wondering if it will keep their homes safe from flooding in the future.

Michael Miller and his family live in the Meyerland area. Their home has flooded twice in the last year. He built dozens of wooden sawhorses 20-inches tall to elevate his furniture if his home were to flood again.

"The reason why I did 20-inches is because we got 22-inches of water," Miller said. "And I thought if I could put all of my furniture up high then I'll probably be okay."

Miller has watched the Brays Bayou project slowly creep along over the years.

"Yes, I think it has taken too long," Miller said. "But after the Tax Day flood in April, I think that's what finally got them off their whatever to go ahead and start showing some progress."

Harris County Flood Control District Executive Director Russ Poppe took over the reigns three months ago after the previous director retired. He said the project started in 2001. Since then, construction crews have widened and/or deepened 15 miles out of 21 miles of Brays Bayou.

The project has been criticized in the past for its slow pace. Poppe said slow money payback from the federal government is to blame.

"Those have not always been consistent except for the past five years," Poppe said. "We've been very consistent in averaging $20 million additional funding each year in the form of reimbursements."

Poppe said they are on track to complete the project by 2021 as long as the government keeps reimbursing the county on time.

Miller is hoping they keep up the progress.

"Now that I'm seeing it on Buffalo Speedway, I know that it's coming our way soon," Miller said. "And I'm hoping before next Spring because that's when it seems to be the most threatening for us."

Progress of Project Brays can be checked on their website.
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