Brays Bayou Flooding

Brays Bayou Slope Repairs

Project Background

Brays Bayou watershed, which drains major parts of Houston and adjacent suburbs has flooded at least once every 10 years, so Harris County Flood Control District is working to reduce flooding risks. Its Brays Bayou Federal Flood Damage Reduction Project is underway in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The $480 million project aims to reduce potential flood damage for much of the heavily populated surrounding communities.  It is comprised of 75+ individual projects, which include detention basins that will manage a total of 3.5 billion gallons of stormwater.

HVJ Associates® provided geotechnical services for a separate project, Club Creek Detention Facility, which is being constructed by TIRZ 20. This basin will also drain into Brays Bayou, raising further concern that the new Club Creek facility would exacerbate the existing slope failures, posing a risk for our client and the residents and businesses along this HCFCD channel. 

Practice: Geotechnical

Industry: Municipal/County

Location: East Texas

Services:  Slope Stability, Slope Failure Repair

Brays Bayou slope bridge home

The Problem

The Club Creek Detention Facility receives stormwater which flows into Brays Bayou where there were three failures in the existing slopes.  Concerned that this newly constructed facility would exacerbate the existing slope failures, Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) wanted them repaired. These slope failures  had occurred more than 20 years ago without a known cause. This raised additional concern, so it was essential to determine contributing factors to  be addressed in HVJ's design solution. 

The Goal

HCFCD sought to repair the slope damage while minimizing the construction footprint—the basin and surrounding properties must not be impacted.  

The Solution

With a systematic and organized approach HVJ worked with our client, Walter P Moore (WPM) to alleviate HCFCD’s concerns.  HVJ provided the requested alternative with the necessary function and safety on schedule and at a cost savings.  

Utilizing the original construction plans and geotechnical reports, HVJ’s Geotechnical Team varied the parameters for water level, velocity, and weather-induced loss of shear strength. Once our team successfully mimicked the failures in the model, we were equipped to design a solution to address the conditions that contributed to the slope failures.   

Through forethought and creativity HVJ’s geotechnical team developed alternatives, and provided an optimal solution that satisfied all stakeholders, including TIRZ 20, and HCFCD (geotechnical and maintenance departments). The final design incorporated benches at various heights with rock-fill at the toe to protect the bottom of the slope from erosion (in lieu of the geogrid) with an approximate 15-foot maintenance berm, which is narrower than the usual maintenance berm, yet it still meets all safety requirements.  The final innovative slope repair design fit within the existing Right of Way with no impact on the basin volume. 

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