area where contractors struck oil while working on Northpark Expansion

Northpark Expansion Project Struck Oil

The Northpark Drive Expansion Project struck oil this week. But this was no Jed-Clampett moment. Oil in the context of a construction project is not good.

Workers discovered what appears to be oil dumped some years ago on the site of what will become the north pond at the 59 entrance to Kingwood.

Ralph De Leon, project manager for the Lake Houston Redevelopment Authority/TIRZ, said that contractors are currently trying to discover the extent of the spill to avoid future contamination on the site. Although the photos below certainly look like excavation, the work is definitely not part of the pond-excavation project, according to De Leon.

Looking south at oil spill area
Reverse angle shows trucks entering and leaving
The nasty surprise
Close up of contamination

De Leon also said the budget contained a line item for contingencies such as this. It should not affect the overall cost of the project.

West Sidewalks Complete

De Leon also said contractors have completed the sidewalks west of 59 that connect the main part of the project to the Kingwood Place West and Kingwood College.

This morning, the last cement pour was drying and contractors were removing forms from areas completed earlier.

Workers are still cleaning up, but the job is essentially done. Looking west toward HEB from over 59.
Reverse angle. Looking east toward 59 at top of frame.

Dr. Katherine Persson, retired head of Kingwood College, requested the sidewalk extension to fill in a critical gap for her students who rode their bicycles to school.

Other Highlights

  • Extension of the drain pipe to Ditch One behind Public Storage is nearly complete. However, contractors still need to install a concrete headwall around the pipe to prevent future erosion.
  • Contractors are preparing an estimate to install the city-approved, water-main detour under Northpark to the new Parkwood Baptist Church. The original water main was too high and interfered with the box culverts being installed in the median.
  • The City of Houston Mayor has signed the inter-local agreement with Union-Pacific (UP) Railroad. UP is now expediting the agreement through its system.
  • Centerpoint has nearly completed relocating its utilities that interfered with the box-culvert installation. As soon as CenterPoint completes that work, installation of the box culverts will resume.
  • The pole-mounted traffic signal at Northpark and Russell-Palmer must come out before contractors can install the box culverts under that intersection. A wire-mounted, temporary signal will replace the pole-mounted system. The wire will stretch across the road. As construction advances, that will enable the signals to be moved left or right as lanes change.
  • Tree transplantation should ramp up in the next couple weeks.

For More Information

For more information about the project including construction plans, visit the project pages of the LHRA/Tirz 10 website. Or see these posts on ReduceFlooding:

Posted by Bob Rehak on 11/17/23

2271 Days since Hurricane Harvey