W129-00-00 Channel Enclosure

Houston, Texas

This two-mile-long channel built in 1952 has its headwaters at Westpark Drive and runs along the Union Pacific railroad adjacent to River Oaks to outfall into Buffalo Bayou at Memorial Park. For years, high-velocity flows resulting from the ditch’s 30-foot vertical drop caused erosion and embankment failures. Tight surroundings (townhomes perch on one bank and the railroad and high-voltage transmission towers line the other bank) made routine maintenance nearly impossible.

IDS evaluated the entire channel and designed the first two phases of enclosure from Memorial Park to Richmond Avenue. Twin barrel, 10-foot by 12-foot box culverts, installed with sloped drops, combined with an enclosed stilling basin designed for minimal maintenance effectively slow stormwater velocity and inhibit erosion. New construction stabilizes the embankment to provide stability for the railroad, transmission towers, and townhomes. IDS developed construction plans to maximize tree preservation. The American Council of Engineering Companies-Texas awarded the project a Gold Engineering Excellence Award.