Transportation

New Bridge Is Designed To Help Alleviate Flooding In Houston’s East End

Forest Hill Bridge also includes a new wider sidewalk and a separated two-way bike lane.

A new bridge on Forest Hill Boulevard in Houston’s East End has opened as part of Project Brays, a $480 million cooperative effort between the Harris County Flood Control District and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

As part of that project, bridges are being replaced to help storm water flow more efficiently.

Harris County Flood Control District Deputy Executive Matthew Zeve said that the new Forest Hill Bridge is about 20 inches higher than the old one to allow storm water to flow under the bridge more efficiently instead of hitting it.

“The previous bridge had three sets of columns in the bayou,” said Zeve. “And this bridge has two sets of columns in the bayou. So there’s actually less physical blockages for the water and less blockages for debris to get caught up underneath the bridge.”

But how far will the new design go in keeping the neighborhood safe from flooding during the next severe weather event?

“Our engineers and our analysis estimate that with this bridge being complete, in the general area during a 100-year flood event, the water surface elevation will be half a foot, six inches lower than it would have been when the previous bridge was here,” said Zeve. “And that doesn’t sound like a whole lot but if you only got two or three inches of water in your house, that’s a big deal because that means you wouldn’t get that water in your house during the next storm event.”

Along with two lanes of traffic for cars, the Forest Hill Bridge also has a sidewalk on one side and a separated two-way bike lane on the other.

“It allows the kids to travel more safely to their school which is just on the other side of the bayou,” said Zeve.

Now that the Forest Hill project is complete, Zeve said they’ll move on to adjacent bridge projects on 75th Street, Telephone Road and Lawndale Street.

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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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