Energy & Environment

Ahead Of Rainy Season, Barker And Addicks Dam Repairs Continue

The project is currently about 11% complete, though it’s been stalled by rains over the past year.

A $75 million repair project on two Buffalo Bayou dams is continuing in west Houston after beginning about a year ago.

The Barker and Addicks Dams off I-10 are considered “extremely high risk” by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. That doesn’t mean they’re about to break, but it does mean they need fixing, since they protect such a huge population.

Corps engineer John Long says the project to build new dam gates and remove the old ones is about 11% complete, but the work has been delayed by rains over the past year.

“This contractor’s been interrupted almost 10 times,” he says, “ranging from a week delay to almost three months delay.”

The reservoirs here filled to record levels with last year’s Tax Day floods. Project Manager Rick Villagomez says there’s an upside to all the rain though: it’s allowed the Corps to test out some measures put in place to make the dams safer while the work continues.

“The report was that the dams were in good condition, they had survived the record pools, and that the interim risk reduction measures had performed as expected to ensure their integrity,” he says.

Workers here are hoping for a drier season ahead, but Long says the dams are in “very good shape” if anything like last year’s flooding hits again.

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Travis Bubenik

Travis Bubenik

Energy & Environment Reporter

Travis Bubenik reports on the tangled intersections of energy and the environment in Houston and across Texas. A Houston native and proud Longhorn, he returned to the Bayou City after serving as the Morning Edition Host & Reporter for Marfa Public Radio in Far West Texas. Bubenik was previously the...

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