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Energy & Environment

Army Corps Nearly Finished Replacing Gates On Addicks And Barker Dams

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is still years away from work on larger-scale flood mitigation projects, such as building underground tunnels to drain the reservoirs in an emergency.

The water rushing out of the Addicks Reservoir.
Craig LeMoult | For Houston Public Media
The water rushing out of the Addicks Reservoir.

With hurricane season less than a month away, Houston eyes are turning nervously to the Addicks and Barker Reservoirs. The US Army Corps of Engineers is taking steps to avert a repeat of the flooding that took place during Hurricane Harvey, when the storm filled the reservoirs to overflow, and the Corps was compelled to release water ease pressure on the dams.

The Corps is now nearly finished with a $75-million project to replace the gates on both dams.

"That started in 2015 and is scheduled to be wrap up next summer," said Andrew Weber, a project manager for the Corps' Galveston District.

The Corps is currently taking public comments on a number of longer-term flood mitigation projects. Those include constructing underground tunnels to help drain the reservoirs in an emergency, as well as building a third reservoir.

"There's a lot of people who live on and around Buffalo Bayou," Weber said. "There's a lot of businesses there. This coming month is the opportunity to have their voices heard, to have their input on what we the Corps of Engineers look at."

The next hearing takes place Tuesday evening at the Trini Mendenhall Community Center in West Houston. The initial public comment period will run through the end of May.

The Corps will release a draft report with its recommendations next summer and conclude its study by October 2021. After that, Weber says, it will be up to Congress to authorize any construction and appropriate funds to pay for the work.


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