Liberty County joining Chambers County, Trinity Bay Conservation District in grant application for drainage project

Allen Sims with LJA Engineering explains the ins-and-outs of a grant project that could alleviate flooding in Devers, Anahuac and Winnie.

Liberty County is partnering with Chambers County and the Trinity Bay Conservation District in a Spindletop Bayou drainage project that could benefit Devers, Anahuac and Winnie. The details of the project were shared by Allen Sims with LJA Engineering at the Liberty County Commissioners Court meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 22.

The $350 million project, if approved, will be funded by a Community Development Block Grant. Each of the three entities will be required to pay roughly $116,000 for a total of $350,000 in matching grant fees. The project would take about four years to complete once the grant is approved and funded.

“There are a few things we need to do as far as culvert change-outs and bridge change-outs. The biggest impact we have on this channel, in this area, is a diversion channel that comes off of Spindletop around where Highway 65 crosses Spindletop south of Winnie and diverts that water directly south into the East Bay Bayou and into the Intercoastal Canal,” Sims explained. “The results of that will reduce the flood elevations between I-10 and (Highway) 124 by about four feet, north of I-10 by three feet and tail off at about a one-foot reduction in flood waters up around Devers.”

Pct. 1 Commissioner Bruce Karbowski said by phone later that he is excited about the project. Of all the issues his precinct faces, drainage is probably the biggest issue for residents.

“This should be a great relief to the folks around Devers. It will eventually help the residents of Daisetta and Hull and relieve some of the water that comes through there,” he said. “Commissioners Court, during the first of the year, entered into an agreement with five other counties to have a drainage study. The study and this possible drainage project will put us a step ahead.”

While there is no guarantee that the project will be approved, Sims said the project’s grant score is high enough to make it a contender.

“What we would like to do is have you guys join with Chambers County to do this improvement. I don’t need a formal agreement right now. I just need for you to agree for us to move forward. Then we will develop the grant application. Once that is developed, we will come back to you with a Memorandum of Understanding,” he said.

The grant application is due by Oct. 28.

“If this follows the same path as past grants, you will be notified by some time in April and June if we got the money and it would be August before the contract comes through,” he said.

Commissioners voted unanimously to move forward with the grant application.

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Before creating Bluebonnet News in 2018, Vanesa Brashier was a community editor for the Houston Chronicle/Houston Community Newspapers. During part of her 12 years at the newspapers, she was assigned as the digital editor and managing editor for the Humble Observer, Kingwood Observer, East Montgomery County Observer and the Lake Houston Observer, and the editor of the Dayton News, Cleveland Advocate and Eastex Advocate. Over the years, she has earned more than two dozen writing awards, including Journalist of the Year.

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