New design for Northpark Entry

New Design for Northpark Entry, Construction Schedule Update

Harper Brothers Construction has encountered another unexpected problem in the Northpark Drive expansion project. While attempting to place 5’x7′ culvert in the median, it uncovered a water line much closer to the surface than it should have been. While developing a solution with the City of Houston, crews will continue to focus on other areas of the project so as not to create excessive delays.

Those areas include:

  • A new water main near 494 and the UP railroad tracks
  • Clearing land for the new Northpark entry to Kingwood at 59.

For background detail and photos, see below.

Pics of Water-Line Conflict

This week, Harper Brothers discovered a water main where it should not have been. The contractor proposed water-line workarounds to the City, but the City has not yet agreed to a solution. The issue has to do with a water main running under Northpark to the new Parkwood Baptist Church east of Russell-Palmer. See the pictures below, courtesy of the Lake Houston Redevelopment Authority (LHRA).

Surprise water line under Northpark
Workers discover a surprise. Water line under Northpark not where it was supposed to be.
Surprise water line under Northpark
Water line should have been buried several feet deeper.
Surprise water line under Northpark
One workaround could require burying a parallel line deep enough to allow placement of culvert over the top of it.

Harper Brothers Construction suggested another workaround – splicing in a U-shaped pipe that would leave enough room for the culvert it is burying in the median.

But until the City and LHRA agree on a solution Harper Brothers may have to skip past the obstruction and then go back at a later date to fill in the gap.

Second New Water Main Farther West

In the meantime, crews have already started prepping for placement of another water line that parallels Northpark closer to Loop 494. See picture below near Public Storage.

Looking SE. Note area being cleared in foreground for new water main and feeder roads next to bridge.

While Northpark will expand inward for most of its length, the feeder road next to the new bridge over 494 and the railroad tracks will expand outward. And because the City doesn’t like to run water mains under a roadway, contractors must also relocate this water main. It’s a much bigger job because it feeds numerous businesses, not just one church.

LHRA actually had to purchase additional land for this portion of the project – enough to accommodate a two-lane feeder road on each side of the bridge.

In the photo above, you can see Harper Brothers prepping land for the new water main and feeder lanes.

Plans for New Entry

The contractor will also soon start clearing the triangular area on the north side of Northpark at 59. Note construction materials stockpiled in the foreground of the photo below. Most, but not all of this area, will become a decorative pond that’s actually a stormwater detention basin in disguise. The pond will hold approximately 11 acre feet of stormwater in the space between the top of the permanent water level and ground level.

A second pond on the south side of Northpark will provide a similar amount of stormwater storage to compensate for the increase in impervious cover caused by road widening.

But not all the trees will go away. TxDoT requires that any trees removed must be replaced with trees of an identical diameter.

Site of first detention pond. Pond will be framed by trees that remain between Northpark and shopping center on right.
Some trees will be relocated to the open area currently behind the grove.

Other trees will be relocated nearby, for instance, around the south pond which is more sparsely populated with trees.

South pond will have more room for transplanted trees around it.

In addition, the ponds when complete will have sidewalks and landscaping around them. TxDoT, LHRA and the Kingwood Service Association worked collaboratively on the designs for two years. A well will serve the area and feed an irrigation system to help ensure new plantings survive and thrive.

Here’s what the finished ponds and landscaping should look like.

North pond (the first) shown on the left.

For the full entry landscaping plans, click here.

To see a video rendering of the ponds, click here and then click on the video in the lower right.

Clearing was to have begun on Tuesday morning after Labor Day. However, that may be delayed now. Late on Friday afternoon several logistical issues involved with relocating the trees became apparent.

CenterPoint Promises to Stake Out Problems Week of 9/3/23

Last week, we talked about 11 conflicts with CenterPoint along the Northpark Drive expansion project. CenterPoint has promised LHRA that it will send crews to “stake out” the problems next week. That is the first step in resolving conflicts.

Some of the CenterPoint conflicts that have culvert placement stalled.

It’s always something in construction! Stay tuned for next week’s exciting episode of “As Northpark Expands.”

For a look ahead at the next three weeks of construction activity, click here.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 9/2/23

2195 Days since Hurricane Harvey and 10 days before the peak of hurricane season