TIRZ 17 Redevelopment Authority is Adding Detention, Reducing Flood Risk and Improving Mobility

TIRZ 17/Memorial City Redevelopment Authority will break ground on the reconstruction of Gessner Road between IH-10 Frontage Road and Long Point Road in the 4th Quarter of 2019. Gessner Road is a major thoroughfare that carries approximately 42,000 vehicles per day. The project is one of the critical capital improvement projects to be undertaken by TIRZ 17, and will provide improved drainage, mobility and quality of life.

TIRZ 17 successfully secured federal funding to partially fund the construction of Gessner Road. Construction bids were received in early July. The lowest bidder was SER Construction Partners, LLC with a $14.59 M bid amount. SER has successfully completed multiple other TIRZ 17 projects including Lumpkin Road and the Town & Country Ln. Roundabout; both also included significant detention enhancements.

The project proposes to improve drainage issues, mobility, access management, traffic operations, and safety within the project limits. To accomplish these objectives will require full roadway reconstruction, additional storm sewer box culverts (up to 10-FT x 5-FT) will be added to supplement the existing box culvert, the aging water lines are approaching their useful service life and will be replaced, wider sidewalks with soft and hardscape amenities, adhering to the TIRZ’s adopted standards, will be added along with theater district street lighting and the traffic signal at Westview will be fully replaced.

“Gessner Road is a marque project for TIRZ 17 helping us achieve our adopted core values, Drainage then Mobility. Currently Gessner Rd is impassible during minor rain events. This project will add three (3) rows of large boxes/storm sewers to help alleviate that issue” said Ann Givens, TIRZ 17 Chair. The project was closely coordinated with District A Council Member Brenda Stardig’s office to ensure that similar level of amenities was installed in the recently completed north of Long Point Road section.

Gauge Engineering, LLC served as the project’s engineer-of-record and SER Construction Partners, LLC., will serve as the contractor. The project is scheduled to be completed during summer of 2021.

Other Ongoing Projects

The stated and primary focus of TIRZ 17 is to improve the drainage infrastructure within the TIRZ 17 boundary and immediate surrounding areas. The TIRZ 17 Board continues to re-evaluate their adopted Capital Improvement Plan, “CIP”, to identify other opportunities to partner with local agencies to enhance drainage improvements to the TIRZ and surrounding area. Below are some of the current ongoing projects:

Briar Branch (W140-01-00) Channel & Straws Improvements

The second and third phases in a series of improvements designed to lower water levels on Briar Branch, provide flood mitigation storage, and deliver flooding relief and protection to the surrounding community. The detention basin located east of Bunker Hill Rd. and south of Briar Branch was the first phase of planned improvements and was completed in 2014. It provided a total volume of 44 ACRE-FT. Phase II will enclose Briar Branch with large storm box culverts from Gessner Road to the phase I detention basin. Phase III (straws) will include improvements to the neighborhood drainage system to move water from the streets and homes into the more efficient enclosed channel and detention basin.

Status: This project is currently under construction and is over 50% completed. Project will be completed in Summer of 2020.

Memorial Drive

The project proposes to improve Drainage Deficiencies with the installation of reinforced concrete storm sewer boxes; ranging from 10-FT x 5-FT to 10-FT x 10-FT, which will result in increased storage, an increase in storm level protection, reduction in overland flow leaving the project area, reduction in roadway ponding and reduction in surrounding area residential flooding.

The project will also improve Mobility and Safety by converting the existing 4-lane asphalt open ditch roadway to a 4-lane concrete curb and gutter section with a raised median. The project will require full roadway reconstruction of Memorial Drive, from the northbound Beltway 8 frontage road to Tallowood Rd. As part of the roadway reconstruction, the aging or deficient public utilities shall be replaced. The project proposes to improve Quality of Life by installing 8-foot wide shared use paths along both sides of the Memorial Drive project corridor, replacing existing traffic signals, providing ADA compliant sidewalks and wheelchair ramps, and installing hardscape and softscape features along the project.

Status: Similar to Gessner Rd, TIRZ 17 was able to successfully secure federal funds to construct this project. The project is currently in the 95% design phase.

Detention Basin A

One of TIRZ 17’s marque flood mitigation projects, Detention Basin A will provide much needed regional flooding relief for the W151 and W153 watersheds. The project involves the creation of nearly 100 ac-ft of detention that will ultimately be maintained by the City of Houston. The TIRZ 17 board has partnered with the City of Houston to seek federal funding to maximize the benefits of the Project. TIRZ 17 has been fiscally responsible and process driven in methodically marching toward flooding mitigation projects. We have performed the necessary due diligence, studies and planning to determine the benefits and cost associated with regional solution alternatives.

The TIRZ 17 Board has worked closely with the City’s Chief Resiliency Officer to navigate the TEDM/FEMA grant process to ensure the highest level of funding eligibility. The City of Houston submitted a grant application on TIRZ 17’s behalf through FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) for the Project. Upon award, TIRZ 17 will provide the required local funding match through the issuance of additional debt. The Project cannot be fully funded by TIRZ 17 without securing federal funding. Therefore, in addition additional debt authorization, federal funding is critical to the implementation of the Project.

Status: Continue to advance the Preliminary Engineering Phase to develop the project scope. TIRZ 17 will continue to support the FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant application. The Project cannot be fully funded by TIRZ 17 without securing the federal grant and issuing additional debt.

Other notable completed TIRZ 17 projects include: South Gessner Road Mobility & Drainage Improvements ($11 M), Queensbury Storm Sewer Improvement ($1 M), Kimberly Lane Drainage & Mobility Improvements ($3 M), Briar Branch Detention Basin ($10 M), Barryknoll Lane East Mobility & Drainage Improvements ($5.7 M), Lumpkin Road Mobility & Drainage Improvements ($14.4 M), Town & Country West Drainage and Mobility Improvements ($7.5 M) and Bunker Hill Widening ($4.5 M)

About TIRZ 17

TIRZ 17 is a tax increment reinvestment zone designated by the City of Houston. The goal of TIRZ 17 is to promote economic redevelopment of the area of Houston generally bounded by Beltway 8 and Gessner, north and south of IH-10, by investing in public infrastructure, particularly road and drainage infrastructure. TIRZ 17 encompasses approximately 1,000 acres of land within several of Houston’s major activity centers. Retail, office and health care uses are prominent in this dynamic and actively growing area of Houston.