Second Dredge Reaches Start Point at River Grove Park

Dredge #2 has moved down the West Fork of the San Jacinto River to River Grove Park, the western limit of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Emergency Dredging Project.

An aerial view of the starting point at River Grove Park for Dredge #2; photo taken 9/14/2017.

At River Grove, the second dredge, which is owned by Great Lakes Dredge & Dock, the primary contractor, will cut a 150-foot-wide opening in the giant sand bar above that blocks the drainage ditch. That ditch empties the western third of Kingwood. Approximately 650 homes flooded above this blockage. The opening should allow the drainage ditch to flow directly into the river again. It will also let boaters use the launch at the park.

Ugly Photo, Beautiful Sight

Dredge #2 has reached its starting point at River Grove Park. It should begin dredging in the next day or so once pipe reaches Placement Area 2. Here, the dredge is seen behind the 10-12 foot high “side bar” seen in the first photo above. Foliage in the foreground has grown since the first photo was taken shortly after Harvey.

Plans for the 150-foot-wide path through the giant sand bar.

Second Dredge Will Start This Week

Even though the dredge has moved into position, it has not yet started dredging. The dredge pipe that will carry sediment is still several thousand feet short of an old sand mine, Placement Area #2 on Sorters Road south of Kingwood College.

The second dredge will begin working after pipe reaches the old mine.

Sediment in the West Fork has made it difficult to float the pipe upstream. Mechanical dredges have had to cut a path through the sediment, which has reduced the river’s depth to one foot or less in places.

Easterly Direction for Dredging

Both dredges will work in a downstream direction until they complete their respective portions of the river.

That is because the river is so shallow. Dredge #1 reportedly bottomed out five times on its way to its starting point between Kingwood Greens and King’s Lake Estates. Mechanical dredges also had to clear a path for it. Starting west and working east reduces the amount of time it takes for each dredge to get to its starting point.

By completion of the project, expected around April 1 next year, West Fork channel conveyance between River Grove and Chimichurri’s should be restored to pre-Harvey conditions.

Meanwhile, Officials Continue to Plan Phase II

Between now and then, the City, County and State will work with FEMA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to plan and launch Phase II of the dredging. Phase II would include the mouth bar area. Details yet to be worked out include an environmental survey and identification of a placement area for the spoils.

As of this morning, Houston City Council Member Dave Martin was confident that both could be accomplished and that the mouth-bar dredging could be approved before the current project is done. If so, that would save taxpayers $17 million on mobilization and demobilization costs for a second, separate job.

Posted on 10/16/2018 by Bob Rehak

413 Days since Hurricane Harvey