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Jim Guidry Commentaries
Harris County
Harris County Flood Control District
News Release
Friday, January 20, 2012

NORTHBOUND HIRAM CLARKE ROAD BRIDGE TO CLOSE FOR CONSTRUCTION
The Buxley Street Pedestrian Bridge is also closed for construction

HOUSTON - On Monday, the Harris County Flood Control District will close the two-lane northbound bridge that crosses Sims Bayou at Hiram Clarke Road, between West Orem Drive and West Fuqua Street, to start work on a bridge construction  project that is part of a federal flood damage reduction project to widen and deepen Sims Bayou.

Harris County Commissioners Court awarded the approximately $3.3 million Hiram Clarke Road bridges construction contract to Menade, Inc., in November 2011. The 14-month project will be carried out in three phases, and different sections of the bridges will close and reopen as construction progresses.

During the first construction phase, the two-lane northbound bridge will be closed and traffic will detour to the two-lane southbound bridge. Traffic will run one lane in each direction on the southbound bridge between Tiffany Drive and Simsbrook Drive for approximately six months.

When the first phase is complete, traffic will shift to the outside lanes of each bridge with one lane open in each direction between Tiffany and Simsbrook. The inside lanes of each bridge will be closed for approximately two to three months.

During the third and final phase of construction, the two-lane southbound bridge will be closed and traffic will detour to the newly-constructed northbound bridge. Traffic will run one lane in each direction on the northbound bridge for approximately six months.

The Flood Control District will communicate construction and bridge closure schedules to the media and to the public in advance of each phase of the project.

Motorists are encouraged to be alert, to pay attention to all posted street and lane closures and to follow traffic detours in the area.

On Jan. 17, the Flood Control District closed the Buxley Street Pedestrian Bridge located approximately .05 miles west of Hiram Clarke to start work on a $420,000 construction project. The 40-plus-year-old wooden pedestrian bridge crosses Sims Bayou at the end of Buxley Street, just south of the intersection of Buxley and Simsbrook. It will be replaced with a concrete and pre-fabricated steel bridge structure.

There will be no alternative pedestrian bridge crossing during the estimated three month construction phase. The Flood Control District is working with the Houston Independent School District to provide bussing for students who use the bridge for the duration of the project.

Millis Development and Construction, Inc. is the Flood Control District's lead contractor on the Buxley Street Pedestrian Bridge project.

The bridge replacement projects are part of the $379 million Sims Bayou Federal Flood Damage Reduction Project. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is the lead agency on this mega project, which includes the widening and deepening of 19.3 miles of Sims Bayou and adding environmental enhancements from the Houston Ship Channel to Croquet Lane, just west of South Post Oak Road. The project is supplemented by three stormwater detention basins that were excavated by the Flood Control District using local funds. The project also consists of the modification/replacement of 22 road bridges, of which 17 are now complete. This project launched construction in 1990 and is scheduled for completion in 2013. From the onset of this project, the Flood Control District, as the local sponsor, has been responsible for property acquisition, utility relocation and the modification/replacement of the bridges that cross Sims Bayou. Construction is expected to begin on the remaining two road bridges that cross Sims Bayou at Croquet and South Post Oak in 2012.

Upon the completion of the Sims Bayou Federal Flood Damage Reduction Project, the 1 percent (100-year) floodplain will be removed from approximately 35,000 homes and 2,000 commercial structures, meaning flooding risks will be greatly reduced for citizens residing in neighborhoods adjacent to Sims Bayou. For more information on this project and its benefits to the community, please visit the Flood Control District's website at www.hcfcd.org.

Please note that all closures are subject to change. For more information on the Sims Bayou bridge projects, including details on lane closures, major traffic switches, local detours, the anticipated schedule for construction on the remaining bridges, and the opportunity to sign up to receive regular e-mail updates, please visit the Sims Bayou Roadway Bridge Construction webpage at www.hcfcd.org/simsbridges or call the Sims Bayou Bridge Construction Information Line at (713) 684-4107.

About the Harris County Flood Control District: The Harris County Flood Control District provides projects that reduce flooding risks and damages, with appropriate regard for community and natural values. With more than 1,500 bayous and creeks totaling approximately 2,500 miles in length, the Flood Control District accomplishes its mission by devising flood damage reduction plans, implementing the plans and maintaining the infrastructure. To learn more about the Flood Control District, visit www.hcfcd.org.




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