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RGV: Texas Water Board Helps Fund Flood Control Projects in Harlingen, Weslaco

Feature Photo: The City of Weslaco plans to construction a 1,900-foot channel along Texas Boulevard, shown here, as part of a flood control project financed in part by a federal grant. Image: Google Streets.

Posted 12-8-2020

by Adolfo Pesquera

Weslaco (Hidalgo County) — The Texas Water Development Board approved financial assistance for flood control projects in the cities of Harlingen and Weslaco.

Committed to Weslaco (Hidalgo County) is $3,002,708, consisting of $1,051,000 in direct financing and $1,951,708 from the Flood Infrastructure Fund (FIF). The total project cost is $4,967,708.

Committed to Harlingen (Cameron County) is $1,349,394 from the FIF, and the total project cost is $2,858,886.

In September, the TWDB announced its funding prioritization list for dozens of flood infrastructure projects throughout the state. Since then, the board has been parceling out individual loans at its bimonthly meetings.

Map of the flood control project area. Image: Google Maps/VBX Graphic.

Of 285 projects vying for $770 million in available funding, 14 projects were prioritized in Hidalgo County alone.

Weslaco officials plan to use their funding for a project extending from Texas Boulevard to City Park. Weslaco City Manager Mike Perez was reported in the McAllen Monitor as stating they intend to install a large drainage pipe from Texas Boulevard going east to the ditch at City Park, 300 N. Airport Drive.

The project includes an excavation at City Park to create a detention pond.

The TWDB report on Weslaco said the funding–a Hazard Mitigation Grant Program grant–is needed to address “repetitive flooding of structures and some flood events, the inundation of floodwater up to three days in an area of the city which currently has an undersized storm water drainage system.”

HMGP grants cover 75% of federal funding for project costs, which the remainder covered by local matches. The TWDB assisted Weslaco with meeting the local match.

“This project proposes to design and construct major drainage improvements including a detention pond and a 48-inch outfall structure as well as 1,900 linear feet of channel widening that will reduce severity of repetitive flooding to 1,217 structures and remove 169 structures from the 100- year flood plain.”

The design phase was to begin Nov. 16. Construction is expected to begin by July 12, 2021 and reach completion by March 18, 2022.

VBX Project ID 2020-8567

City of Harlingen:

Similar to the situation in Weslaco, the city of Harlingen requested the state water board’s assistance with meeting the local match for a federal grant.

This project proposes to upgrade storm sewer systems, which will mitigate 327 commercial and residential lots and streets within the city’s main retail/commercial zones from future flood risk.

The upgrades consist of removing of the undersized drainage system and replacing it with 5,803 linear feet of reinforced concrete pipe, 27 junction boxes, and 46 inlets.

In addition, the city will implement Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan measures for water quality control as part of the upgrades.

Any utility adjustments and restoration of street pavement will be completed as needed.

The proposed storm sewer lines will increase capacity of the upstream section of the existing drainage system, and the downstream system has enough capacity to handle the increase, thus reducing flooding.

Planning and design were completed in August. Construction was to have begun Nov. 30, 2020 and reach completion Sept. 7, 2021.