Tag Archive for: Ford Road

Nine Crenshaw Flood-Related Earmark Requests Approved by Various House Committees

U.S. Congressman Dan Crenshaw made nine flood-related earmark requests for 2024. And according to his office, several House of Representative Committees have approved all nine. They include:

  • $1.75M – Taylor Gully Flood Mitigation Project
  • $1.75M – Goose Creek Channel Conveyance Improvements
  • $3.6M – Highlands, Huffman & Crosby Roadway Reconstruction and Drainage Improvements project
  • $1.83 – San Jacinto River Wastewater System Replacement
  • $4M – Kingwood Diversion Channel/Walnut Lane Bridge
  • $1.12M – FM1488 Area Street Rehabilitation and Drainage Improvement Project 
  • $3M – Tamina Economic Development Planning Project
  • $7M – Ford Road Improvement Projects
  • $700,000 Montgomery County Bridge Project 

A committee also approved a request by Crenshaw NOT related to flooding – $1.65M for the Montgomery County Active Shooter Defense Training Facility. That means all 10 of Representative Crenshaw’s 2024 requests received funding, although not all received the full amount requested.

Project Descriptions

For descriptions of all 10 earmarks requested by Crenshaw, see below.

1. Taylor Gully Flood Mitigation Project

Recipient: Harris County Flood Control District

Requested: $8 million 

Committee Approved: $1.75 million. See Interior List.

Purpose: To reduce flood risk in the Kingwood area.  This area experienced widespread flooding from recent storm events, including Hurricane Harvey and Tropical Storm Imelda.  This project will create a detention basin and improve stormwater conveyance to minimize flood risks. Engineering studies show that completion of this project will result in substantial reductions in flooding along Taylor Gully.  The studies show that this project will remove the 100-year floodplain from more than 276 structures and 115 acres of flood area.

2. Goose Creek Channel Conveyance Improvements and Stormwater Detention Project

Recipient: Harris County Flood Control District

Requested: $8 million

Committee Approved: $1.75 million. See Interior List.

Purpose:  This project is designed to reduce flood risk within the Goose Creek Watershed by creating a detention basin and improving stormwater conveyance. The project is estimated to remove approximately 28 acres of inundated land, up to 77 structures, and 1.44 miles of inundated roadways from the 100-year event. Preventing flooding will avoid the need for more costly recovery efforts after flooding events.

3. Highland / Huffman / Crosby Roadway & Drainage Improvement 

Recipient: Harris County, Texas

Requested: $3.6 million 

Committee approved $3.6 million. See Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development List.

Purpose: Reconstruction of multiple poorly paved roads in subdivisions throughout the Highlands, Crosby, and Huffman areas of northeast Harris County. Existing gravel roads and inadequate drainage will be replaced with asphalt pavement, driveway culverts, and roadside ditches that will greatly improve residents’ quality of life. The projects will also improve accessibility for law enforcement and emergency services, reduce flood risk, and bring the local infrastructure to a standard acceptable for long-term County maintenance. 

4. San Jacinto River Wastewater System Replacement Project

Recipient: Army Corps of Engineers

Requested: $1.8 million

Committee Approved: $1.83 million. See Energy and Water List.

Purpose: To increase the reliability of the San Jacinto River Authority Woodlands Division wastewater conveyance system and repair damage from recent storms. List stations were damaged by flooding during Hurricane Harvey and have yet to be repaired. Both on-site lift stations, the control building, and the emergency generator were flooded and need to be replaced. This request would fund the demolition of the existing structure and build new systems. 

5. Kingwood Diversion Channel – Walnut Lane Bridge Project

Recipient: City of Houston

Requested: $4 million 

Committee Approved: $4 million. See Homeland Security List.

Purpose: The project includes the widening and reconstruction of Walnut Lane Bridge in Kingwood. This bridge, in its current configuration, will restrict flood flows unless widened to accommodate the future expansion of the Kingwood Diversion Channel currently being designed by the Harris County Flood Control District. The purpose of the overall project is to route drainage from Montgomery County to Lake Houston and reduce flood damage to residents of Kingwood along Bens Branch. The funding is needed to construct improvements needed to facilitate the expansion of the Kingwood Diversion Ditch and rebuild the Walnut Lane Bridge.

6. FM1488 Area Street Rehabilitation and Drainage Improvement Project 

Recipient: City of Conroe

Requested: $1.12 million

Committee Approved: $1.12 million. See Transportation, and Housing and Urban Develop List.

Purpose: The project will fund roadway resurfacing, drainage improvements, and storm sewer upgrades of roadways connecting to FM1488 near IH-45 (southern part of Conroe). The City of Conroe has experienced severe weather and rainfall which causes considerable wear and tear on the roads and drainage network. The project will benefit residential areas, including the Arella Forrest at Woodland Senior Living Center and Stillwater neighborhood. It will also improve access to the WG Jones State Forest, which serves a community located in a Historically Disadvantaged Community Tract. 

7. Tamina Economic Development Planning Project

Recipient: Montgomery County

Requested: $3 million 

Committee Approved: $3 million. See Transportation and Housing and Urban Development List.

Purpose: The Tamina area is not served by modern street and stormwater management systems. The streets are in disrepair and the area drains very poorly, creating an elevated risk of flooding. The first phase of economic development planning, which this request would support, is to complete detailed engineering and environmental studies, provide new driveways and culverts, and re-grade all of the ditches to allow them to drain. 

8. Ford Road Improvement Project 

Recipient: Montgomery County 

Requested: $12 million 

Committee Approved: $7 million. See Transportation List.

Purpose: Support Ford Road improvements from US 59 in Montgomery County to the Harris County line. The current road is undersized and serves as one of only three evacuation routes for the Kingwood area. All three routes have drainage issues and Ford Road is only a two-lane road. The proposed project would make Ford Road a four-lane road, improve local drainage, and improve driver and pedestrian safety in the corridor.

9. Montgomery County Bridge Project 

Recipient: Montgomery County 

Requested: $900,000

Committee Approved: $700,000. See Transportation List.

Purpose: Provide funding for five rural wooden bridges in Montgomery County that are past their design life and need to be replaced. The bridges were not built to current criteria and increase the risk of flooding by backing up water during large storms. One bridge serves as the only way in and out of a subdivision presenting a safety hazard. The funding request is for engineering, surveying, and permitting services to develop construction plans to replace five bridges.

10. Active Shooter Defense Training Facility

Recipient: Montgomery County 

Requested: $2.3 million 

Committee Approved: $1.65 million. See Commerce, Justice, Science List.

Purpose: Purpose: To assist with the operations of our regional active shooter rapid response training facility by purchasing training supplies/aids, equiping graduates with medical response supplies, and ballistic equipment for actual threats. To date, graduates include 1,600 law enforcement personnel, fire and EMS first responders. 

Next Steps

Being approved by a committee doesn’t mean the Crenshaw earmarks are “done deals” yet. The full House of Representatives and Senate must still approve them. And then the President must sign the Appropriations bill into law. So, things could change between now and the end of the year. Final amounts could vary. More news to follow on the Crenshaw earmarks.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 7/24/23

2155 Days since Hurricane Harvey

Today, We Passed the Record for All-Time Wettest May By a Wide Margin

At least if you go by the gage at my house. With six days left in the month, the Lake Houston Area has already broken the record for the all time wettest May. The official gage, of course, is at Bush Intercontinental Airport, but the NWS doesn’t release monthly data until the month is over.

This afternoon, my back yard rain gage recorded 17.24 inches for May. The previous record was 14.39 inches set in 1970. (See chart below.) That’s a 20% increase! With more rain on the way tonight and later this week.

From National Weather Service.

Effect on Area Streets

We also recorded 4.11 inches this afternoon in a four-hour period. That’s pushing the limits of storm drains. And predictably, people reported street flooding all over the area.

Ford Road in Porter on 5/24/2021 after 4 inches of rain in 4 hours. Photo courtesy of Nicole Black-Rudolph. Ford Road is one of the main evacuation routes from Kingwood when Northpark and Kingwood Drives are cut off by high water. Now upstream development is flooding it too.
Photo of street flooding in Atascocita, courtesy of Jennifer Zorn. Atascocita received more than 7 inches of rain in a 3-4 hour period.according to television news reports tonight. That qualifies as approximately a 50-year rain.
The City’s long-running sewer repair project in Kingwood Lakes has created a dam across the main lake, artificially raising the water level. Photo courtesy of Anna Mitchell.

Flash Flood Watch Till 9PM

A flash flood watch remains in effect for the Houston area until 9pm tonight. The four inches that fells this afternoon in about 4 hours rates as about a 5-year rain. Last weeks 5.5 inches in a little more than 3 hours was a 10-year rain. No wonder we’ve had the wettest May!

It’s important to remember that these statistics are averages. Just because you get a ten-year rain one week does NOT mean you are immune to another for 9.99 more years.

Effect of Five-Year Rain on Bens Branch

Before the recent rehabilitation project on Ben’s Branch, parts of this channel were down to a two-year level of service. Below, you can see how it handled a 5-year rain today. Room to spare. Quite an improvement for a maintenance project!

Looking downstream over Bens Branch toward Kingwood Town Center. Photo taken 5.24.21.
Looking downstream toward Lake Houston along Ben’s Branch.
Where Ben’s Branch crosses under Kingwood Drive, the City has yet to work out some kinks. Harris County Flood Control District does not maintain under City bridges. In fairness to the City, the Bens Branch rehab project was completed just last month.

Overall, ditches and streams in Kingwood seem to be within their banks.

Wider-Area Stream and Lake Report

However, warning signs are popping up all around the Lake Houston Area.

Harris County Flood Warning System 5.24.21 at 7PM.

At this hour, Lake Conroe seems under control. Luckily, the highest rainfall totals in the Lake Conroe area today were less than one inch.

But Lake Houston is approaching two feet above normal despite constant releases by the Coast Water Authority.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 5/24/21 with thanks to Nicole Black-Rudolph and Jennifer Zorn.

1364 Days since Hurricane Harvey

Humble ISD Constructing Transportation Facility Next to Woodridge Village

In 2018, voters approved an Humble ISD school bond that included a new northern transportation center. The 11.7-acre center is currently under construction at 24755 Ford Road, directly across the street from the new construction entrance for Woodridge Village. Concerned residents wonder whether the extra acreage could make flooding worse.

Source: Montgomery County Appraisal District

Humble ISD says the target opening date for the new transportation center is 2021. Having an additional transportation center will save an estimated $2 million in operating costs, they say, due to shorter routes and improved response times.

Transportation Centers Use Lots of Concrete

This video shows what the old bus center looks like. Lots of concrete! It is a giant parking lot. But the District does have two small detention ponds for the 29-acre site (see below).

Old Humble ISD transportation center at Will Clayton and Wilson. Note detention ponds and bottom and right of photo. Source: Google Earth.

Note that the old site is in Harris County and the new one is just across the county line in Montgomery County which has more lax regulations.

Residents Question Whether Site Will Add to Flooding

There is some good news, however. According to USGS, there were no wetlands on this site. Nor does FloodFactor.com for FEMA show that the Transportation Center is any danger of flooding, unlike its neighbor, Woodridge Village, to the west.

New Transportation Center property is by red pin. Woodridge Village is to left, across Ford Road. Source: FloodFactor.com.

Some residents have questioned whether the new transportation center will add to their flood woes. That’s unclear. It depends on whether the District puts detention ponds on the site.

Construction Photos As of 6/16/2020

Recent construction photos below suggest that they will, but the District has not yet responded to a request for a drainage analysis and site plan. See the status of construction below. All photos taken on 6/16/2020.

The cleared space on the right is the northeastern section of Woodridge Village. The one in the upper left by the cell tower is the new Humble ISD transportation center. Looking southeast toward Lake Houston in background.
Tighter shot of new transportation center shows clearing is complete. Area between cell tower and top corner looks like it could become a detention pond.
Even closer shot shows them laying stormwater sewers toward back corner.
Close shot of drain pipe. From the size, it looks as though they expect a lot of runoff.
It also looks like they are pouring a concrete bed for the pipe.

New Ag Barn Just Blocks Away

The District’s new ag barn will also be in the same vicinity, about two blocks south – right where Ford Road turns into Mills Branch Road. During the last bond election, shortly after Harvey, the District decided to relocate the ag barn from Deer Ridge Park for the safety of students and animals.

The District has just started clearing land for that project.

The high rate of development in this area makes it imperative that everyone adheres to drainage best practices to prevent flooding. As more information about these and other projects becomes available, I will post it.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 7/2/2020

1038 Days since Hurricane Harvey and 286 since Imelda