Officials in Harris Co. working to reduce flooding in neighborhoods

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- With flooding fresh on the minds of Houston-area neighbors after Tropical Storm Beta, ABC13 took a look at what flood mitigation projects are on the way.

Residents living along Clear Creek found themselves raking yards Wednesday. Not because of dead leaves, but due to debris left behind from the flood.

"I couldn't even get through here," Valarie Lozano explained in her Blackhawk subdivision. "I had to leave my truck at the school and walk."

For the Blackhawk subdivision neighbors, flooded streets are nothing new.

"I thought they would've fixed it after Harvey, but they didn't," Lozano said. "It was kind of surprising that it happened again. I mean, maybe not."

The subdivision is near Clear Creek, an area the Harris County Flood Control District knows needs to be improved. But soon, flood mitigation work will begin.

"I know it's a day late and a dollar short, but the good news is, we just bid a major project on Mud Gully, which is a tributary to Clear Creek," Harris County Flood Control District executive director Russ Poppe said.

Mud Gully work will cost about $10.5 million, which Poppe said will prevent flooding to about 150 homes.

The larger Clear Creek project will work on other tributaries in Harris and Brazoria Counties.

"We're looking at a six to seven year project delivery time from the time starting early next year before we complete the entire $300 million project," Poppe said.

Right now, work is underway at Brays Bayou and improvements are also coming to Hunting Bayou.

The $16 million project will improve the Kashmere Gardens area from Interstate 59 to Lockwood Drive, which should reduce flooding to 4,000 homes.

There's also a White Oak Bayou project to improve the area from FM-1960 to Hollister Road.

"We're pushing right now $150 million worth of construction work that's going on in the field and being implemented as we speak," Poppe said.

Buffalo Bayou is also close to getting an improvement.

Next Friday, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers will release a two year study to improve the waterway.

"It's looking at a third reservoir in the Cypress Creek area," U.S. Army Corp of Engineer project manager, Andrew Weber explained. "That would help water from overflowing into the Addicks watershed. We're looking at potentially digging out the government owned property within the existing reservoirs."

Neighbors will get their first look at the plan on Friday, Oct. 2.

The plan will be submitted to Congress for funding, but that's not expected until 2022. Once approved, officials said it shouldn't take much longer to see improvements.

"Some of these alternatives would start providing benefits before they're entirely complete," Weber explained. "We could start seeing improvements in an incremental fashion."

Residents say these improvements can't come soon enough.

"It's scary," Lozano said. "It gives you a lot of anxiety. You're doing all these things to your home, and you're putting all this money into your house, and here comes the water level."

With so much construction taking place, the flood control district said it has received complaints.

Officials are asking for a little bit of patience because the pain from the construction will be worth it to keep your homes dry.

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