Excavation of Lower Portion of Ben’s Branch Kicking into High Gear

In June and July, Harris County Flood Control cleared the upper portion of Ben’s Branch near Northpark Drive and Woodland Hills. Now, excavation of the lower portion of Ben’s Branch between Kingwood Drive and the YMCA on West Lake Houston Parkway has begun.

Looking south from the Kingwood Drive Bridge over Ben’s Branch. Fuddrucker’s and Remax are out of frame to the left.

One of the Largest Drainage Features in Kingwood

Ben’s Branch is one of the major drainage features in Kingwood. The purpose of the project: to restore conveyance. The stream/ditch cuts diagonally through the center of the community from the new St. Martha Church to King’s Harbor. Thousands of homes and businesses depend on Ben’s Branch to evacuate storm water efficiently.

Prior to Harvey, the ditch had not been cleared out in decades. It had become seriously clogged from erosion. Kingwood badly needs this maintenance.

Damages Near Ben’s Branch

During Harvey, Ben’s Branch contributed to the flooding of:

  • Every business in Kingwood’s busy Town Center area
  • Every home in the Enclave
  • Hundreds of homes in Kings Forest, Bear Branch, Foster’s Mill and Kingwood Greens
  • Kingwood Country Club’s Forest Course and Golf Advantage School
  • The Kingwood YMCA and Library
  • Kingwood High School
  • Hundreds of apartments

Twelve seniors in Kingwood Village Estates also died as a result of injuries sustained during evacuation or the stress of dealing with condos that the storm destroyed.

Scope and Timing of Project

Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) started planning the clean-out project last spring, bid it earlier in the summer, and began construction late last month.

Construction will last through the end of the year. HCFCD will remove approximately 77,000 cubic yards of sediment. Crews began work at Kingwood Drive and are heading downstream. They have not yet reached the point where Ben’s Branch turns east, cuts under West Lake Houston Parkway, and then curves around the Y to head south again.

The project extends from Kingwood Drive downstream to 1,800 linear feet downstream of West Lake Houston Parkway.

HCFCD project started at the red line and is heading south.
Example of how badly Ben’s Branch has become silted. Approximately 70-80% of the conveyance was lost. The little orange dot in the upper center of the frame is a member of the HCFCD survey crew. Image taken last spring, looking west from West Lake Houston Parkway Bridge.

Traffic and Other Impacts

Construction equipment will access the work area via the established access points from Kingwood Drive, Bens View, West Lake Houston Parkway, and Denmere. The contractor will use heavy construction equipment such as dump trucks, excavators and bulldozers. Motorists are urged to be alert to truck traffic when passing near construction access points. 

In order to repair and remove sediment from Ben’s Branch, the contractor will need to remove some trees and vegetation along Bens Branch, and in areas designated for access to the channel from the public road right of way.

For more information about this or other Kingwood projects visit the Harris County Flood Control District website.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 9/12/2019

744 Days since Hurricane Harvey