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July 26, 2018 11:24:56 AM CST
Construction Starts on Forest Hill Bridge Replacement at Brays Bayou
The Harris County Flood Control District has begun construction to replace the existing two-lane neighborhood bridge at Forest Hill Boulevard near Gus Wortham Golf Course with a new higher, longer and wider bridge that will improve the conveyance of stormwater along Brays Bayou in south central Harris County.
This will be the 17th bridge modification constructed by the Flood Control District as part of $480 million Project Brays, a cooperative effort between the Flood Control District and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Project Brays includes the widening of 21 miles of Brays Bayou in 13 separate channel modification project segments, the modification of 32 bridges, and the construction of four stormwater detention basins with a combined capacity of 3.5 billion gallons.
On June 12, 2018, Harris County Commissioners Court awarded a $4.98 million construction contract for the Forest Hill Bridge project to lowest qualified bidder Harper Brothers Construction. Work is scheduled to begin in July and is expected to be complete in approximately one year.
This bridge is the first to benefit from an agreement with the City of Houston, which in 2017 committed to borrowing $46 million from the Texas Water Development Board to accelerate work on Project Brays. Although construction will instead likely be financed from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers funding approved after Hurricane Harvey, the City of Houston agreement allowed the Flood Control District to move ahead more quickly on design and construction of the Forest Hill Bridge and other upcoming bridge modification projects. These projects all will improve stormwater conveyance on Brays Bayou.
During construction, the Forest Hill Bridge will be completely closed for at least one year. The main detour through this area, which is home to Briscoe Elementary School, will be via the South 75th Street Bridge downstream (to the east) over Brays Bayou. Residents and motorists are encouraged to remain alert to changing conditions, and to pay attention to all posted lane closure and detour signs.
When Project Brays is complete, it is expected to provide a 1 percent (100-year) level of flood protection upstream (west) of the Sam Houston Tollway. In areas downstream (east) of the tollway, Project Brays will reduce the number structures at risk from a 1 percent (100-year) flood from 16,800 to 1,800.