Brays Bayou project saved properties from flooding

Thursday, September 24, 2020
Brays Bayou project saved properties from flooding but not enough
A massive Brays Bayou project saved properties from Tropical Storm Beta's floodwaters, but was it enough?

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- As Tropical Storm Beta passed through Texas, neighbors in Houston's southwest side were grateful their property was spared flooding waters.

Many told ABC13 that the project along Brays Bayou likely saved their yards from flooding or worse.

Valerie Mullins, who lives near Brays Bayou in the Braeburn Terrace subdivision near Meyerland, said she was watching the rain outside closely.

"The streets didn't stay dry, but they weren't filling with water," said Mullins.

SEE ALSO: Flood control project could close 8 bridges at once

Each time it rains she says she fears the worst after her family had to be rescued by boat during Hurricane Harvey.

"I had both my kids in a tiny little portable crib, the water was lapping the bottom of the crib," she recalled.

Gary Zika with the Harris County Flood Control District said the effort to increase the volume of Brays Bayou and reduce home flooding has been ongoing for two decades.

"It's a $480 million project. We've been working on it since 2000. The property was purchased before that, in the 1990s, for the project," said Zika.

Called Project Brays, it is a joint effort between Harris County and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

SEE ALSO: Officials in Harris Co. working to reduce flooding in neighborhoods

It includes 75 individual projects along 31 miles of the bayou.

Zika said they are currently reconstructing 13 bridges and have widened the bayou by about 30%.

"We kind of started out like this and we didn't really make it deeper, but we made it wider," Zika said.

He said the bayou, which stretches through the Texas Medical Center and passes the University of Houston, can take about 10 inches of rainfall in 24 hours without overflowing its banks.

Project Brays is still years from completion but neighbors say they do not mind the hassle of construction traffic as long as it means their homes stay dry.

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