First Phase of West Fork Dredging Completed

The Army Corps has completed the original scope of its West Fork Emergency Dredging Project. Great Lakes, the prime contractor, finished its portion of the job in mid-April. This week, Callan Marine, the subcontractor, finished its portion of the dredging.

Subcontractor Callan Marine Now Demobilizing

Callan has already begun demobilizing. So far, the company has unhooked its dredge from its pipeline and is removing its booster pumps and other equipment from the river. Callan should have all of its equipment back at the command site dock by this weekend.

Yesterday, Keith Jordan, a resident of Kings Lake Estates, greeted the news joyfully. “Hallelujah! It’s simply amazing how quiet it is tonight.  It’s been a long 8 months!” Jordan had a booster pump anchored behind his home the entire time and complained several times to the Corps about noise.

Callan operated the blue dredge that worked the area downstream from the West Lake Houston Parkway bridge since approximately January.

Callan dredge near King’s Harbor on Jan. 31, 2019. West Lake Houston Parkway Bridge in background. Callan booster pump on far side of bridge.

Mouth Bar Contract Extension Ahead of Schedule

In other news, Great Lakes is far ahead of schedule on a contract extension. The extension is a separate mission assignment from FEMA to the Corps for slightly more than $17 million. It involves dredging 500,000 cubic yards of sediment from the mouth bar. The Corps originally thought the extension would take until January, 2020. However, at the current rate, Great Lakes could finish next month – in less than half the time predicted.

Five-hundred thousand cubic yards will barely scratch the surface of what needs to be removed and may not even be sufficient to cut a channel through the mouth bar area, thus leaving most of the mouth bar intact. It is unclear at this time what the plans are to restore conveyance through this area of the West Fork.

Current Dredging Photos from Carolyn Daniel

A reader, Carolyn Daniel, sent me several pictures taken earlier this week from the window of an airplane as it descended into Bush Intercontinental Airport. They show the Great Lakes Dredge south of the mouth bar. The company also removed vegetation from leading edge of the mouth bar itself. Perhaps they hoped that river currents could help erode the bar which contains far more than 500,000 cubic yards.

Great Lakes Dredge near Mouth Bar with Kingwood in background. Looking north. Town Center is on left and Kings Point on the right. Photo courtesy of Carolyn Daniel. Taken 8/5/2019.
Seconds later, as her plane descended, Carolyn Daniel grabbed this shot of mouth bar dredging. Also looking north, it shows Atascocita Point in the foreground and Fosters Mill and Kings Point in the background.

These images illustrate the enormity of the task ahead and the need to be ruthlessly efficient with resources and time.

Challenges Ahead

Tomorrow, I will look at some of the challenges ahead, and some of the obstacles to restoring conveyance.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 8/8/2019 with photos from Carolyn Daniel

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