As of the end of June 2022, Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) had removed 42,483 cubic yards of dirt from the Woodridge Village property in Montgomery County. The dirt is part of an excavation and removal (E&R) contract that allows removal of up to 500,000 cubic yards. That amount would double the floodwater detention capacity on the site and help reduce the risk of flooding in Elm Grove and North Kingwood Forest along Taylor Gully. Heavy rains in May and September of 2019 flooded approximately 600 homes in the area.
History of Project
Harris County purchased Woodridge with the City of Houston from Perry Homes in February 2021. At the time of purchase, the site had enough detention capacity to meet pre-Atlas 14 requirements in Montgomery County. But Atlas-14 requirements call for about 40% more. Hence the need to increase floodwater detention capacity.
Harris County Commissioners Court approved the contract with Sprint Sand and Clay on July 20, 2021. It obligates Sprint to remove at least 5000 cubic yards per month. Excavation started on January 27, 2022. Five months later, Sprint has removed 42,483 cubic yards, 17,000 cubic yards more than the minimum.
Chronological Excavation Photos
Excavation & Removal Contract
E&R contracts provide a head start on construction of detention basins before completion of their final design.
Sprint has agreed to remove up to half a million cubic yards of soil for only $1000. But it gets to sell the soil for a profit on the open market. This provides significant savings to taxpayers by minimizing trucking and disposal fees.
By contract, Sprint has up to 36 months. If Sprint continues removing dirt at the rate of about 8,000 cubic yards per month, they should remove another 248,000 cubic yards before the end of the contract term.
With the dirt already removed, that would only put them at 290,00 cubic yards at the end of three years. So at some point, Sprint will have to sprint to catch up if they want to remove all 500,00 cubic yards.
Future of Woodridge Village
The rate of removal will ultimately depend on developments in the housing market. The latest report by the Census Bureau shows housing starts in May 2022 were down 7% from April 2022, but still 0.2% ahead of May 2021.
An engineering study currently underway includes the Woodridge property. HCFCD has the flexibility to change the E&R contract if necessary to accommodate any design requirements that emerge from the study.
Community engagement should be scheduled soon to gather input from area residents on the proposed project and to present project alternatives.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 7/1/2022
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