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Katy drainage projects to start in August

August 8, 2018

“I’m very excited,” said Pine Forest resident Theresa Wiens as she left a July 31 meeting at Katy City Hall where she learned that flood mitigation projects in her neighborhood are scheduled to start in mid-August.

Her house flooded after Hurricane Harvey last August and she said that some of her neighbors not only flooded then but during the prior year’s Tax Day floods.

The house of 33-year Pine Forest resident Melvin Derong flooded during Hurricane Harvey for the first and hopefully the last time. He also was glad to learn that work would be starting soon on three of four projects proposed for the subdivision by Costello Inc. of Houston, the engineering firm hired by the city of Katy. He noted that Katy is just part of the flood-control picture.

“It’s a local issue, it’s a regional issue, it’s a federal issue,” he said, adding that he’s written to District 10 U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin, urging Congress to take action about Katy-area flooding.

“Any improvement I’m in favor of it,” said Derong. “It may not make much difference but anything is better than nothing.”

About 50 people, including members of Katy City Council, attended the July 31 meeting where Ralph Saldana, project manager and partner of Costello Inc., introduced representatives of Reytec Construction Resources Inc. of Houston, which was awarded the city contract: Steven Aranda, vice president of operations; Steve Goolsby, project manager and Robert Rodriguez, field supervisor.

Work is expected to start on Aug. 13 and continue through mid-March. The construction contract calls for the projects to be completed in 210 days with incentives and penalties to encourage the contractor to finish the project in a timely fashion. That timeline doesn’t include temporary work gaps due to inclement weather. It’s also a slightly later start than discussed at a June workshop with Costello representatives and residents. Saldana said the project encountered some delays. Officials have obtained the needed authorization from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and hope to obtain authorization from the Katy Brookshire Drainage District at its August meeting.

The contractor will improve Magnolia ditch, replace the drainage collection system on Avenue D between Magnolia ditch and Morton Road and replace a storm sewer on W. Elm Circle with a new drainage box to discharge into Cane Island Creek.

Saldana said the first efforts will be directed to clearing the trees from the Magnolia ditch. Derong said he enjoys the scenery provided by the trees but would rather not be flooded again.

Total cost for the three projects is $4.4 million. To pay for the contract, the city is using using $3.3 million from the sale of bonds with the remainder to come from reserves. In June, the city sold $9 million in bonds to fund construction of streets and drainage improvements. The funds were approved by voters in May as part of a bond package totaling $19.5 million.

Lack of an easement has delayed installing a 42-inch storm sewer to help Pecan Lane handle runoff from Hackberry Lane, a fourth project that’s part of the flood-mitigation package proposed by Costello. Saladana said his company is exploring options for Pecan Lane and could have recommendations to the city this month. Mayor Chuck Brawner said the city would relay information to residents as soon as it knows what will be next. He said that work would be handled under a separate contract.

Saladana gave residents the email of PineForest@costelloinc.com to use if they have comments or questions about the flood-mitigation projects.

karen.zurawski@chron.com

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