Sims Bayou Expansion

The heavy rains that fell on the southeast side two weeks ago caused major flooding, but not because Sims Bayou spilled over its banks. Houston Public Radio's Rod Rice reports that Harris County Flood Control District attributes that to the work done to widen and deepen that part of Sims.

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"During the recent flooding the rain that occurred was near the area where we have completed the Sims Bayou Project."

Fred Garcia is an Engineer with the Flood Control District.

"That portion of the bayou was readily available to accept all the storm water that could come to it, and because of that we've estimated that almost a thousand houses were spared from flooding because of the success that we've had in completing the project thus far."

The $344 million Sims Bayou Project began near the Ship Channel in 1990 and will progress upstream to Croquet, just west of South Post Oak. The project should be completed in 2009.

Work is currently taking place along the Bayou on either side of Cullen Boulevard.

"This project consists of primarily earth moving, in order to make the bayou larger we have to excavate it, make it wider and deeper, and that generates a lot of excess dirt. So the trucks that you are hearing are hauling the dirt away to appropriate disposal sites."

The work west of Cullen is further along and crews are working along the waterways banks. Garcia says the banks will eventually be covered with a special kind of cement block.

"This will be want's called articulated concrete blocks. It's a system of blocks to help keep the earth in place. Grass will grow through it and it will make the flow of water very efficient and keep the integrity of the channel in place."

Less excavation has been done so far east of Cullen, Sims Bayou looks more like its natural self, more picturesque perhaps, but also more prone to flooding. Fred Garcia says that is not to imply that the completed project won't be appealing.

"When it's finished it's going to be a beautiful park like setting and there's going to opportunities for recreational components along Sims Bayou, for willing sponsors to step forward to sponsor trails and hiking areas. It will be a gently sloping bayou for those types of activities."

Garcia says Sims will normally be two to three feet deep, but when finished it will be able to carry 25-feet of water. 35,000 residences and two-thousand businesses will be better protected from flooding. That translates to a $6.50 benefit for every dollar spent on the Sims Bayou Project. For more information on Sims and other area bayous you'll find a link to Harris County Flood Control District at kuhf-dot-org.

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