HOUSTON, TX - Earlier this summer, Mayor Pro Tem Dave Martin announced challenges related to the Lake Houston Spillway Dam Improvement Project regarding the ability for the City of Houston to secure a benefit to cost ratio (BCR) between .75 and 1. Those challenges have been overcome thanks to Mayor Pro Tem Martin diligently pursuing innovative strategies and Mayor Sylvester Turner along with Chief Recovery Officer Stephen Costello’s meeting with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator to discuss the inequities of the Federal BCR formula associated with incorporation of social benefits.
As a result, Mayor Pro Tem Martin and Mayor Turner would like to announce that a HUGE hurdle has been removed for the Lake Houston Region as the revised draft BCR for the Lake Houston Spillway Dam Improvement Project has been determined to be federally compliant and is very favorable. The revised BCR was completed by Atkins, a City of Houston consultant, and is for an eleven-gate structure. The eleven gates will be built into the existing embankment on the eastside of the Lake Houston Spillway Dam. Building the new gate structure in the east embankment removes the high-construction risk of modifying the existing gate structure, allows continued use of the existing gate structure during construction, and eliminates the need for a cofferdam in the lake.
The City of Houston is now preparing this BCR analysis to be sent to FEMA for justification of the project which has a preliminary cost estimate of nearly $200 million, exceeding the City of Houston’s FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant amount of $48 million. In anticipation of a much more costly project, Mayor Pro Tem Martin, Chief Costello, and State Representative Dan Huberty met with the Texas House of Representatives Speaker Dade Phelan’s Director of Finance to begin conversations for additional state dollars to fund this project as a life and safety initiative for the survival of the community and economy in the Lake Houston Area. Key partners this legislative session will be Congressman Dan Crenshaw, State Senator Brandon Creighton, Speaker of the Texas House Dade Phelan, State Representative & Chair of Appropriations Dr. Greg Bonnen, State Representatives Charles Cunningham and Armando Walle. Mayor Pro Tem Martin is committed to working with Federal and State partners to ensure the cost of the Lake Houston Spillway Dam Project is fully funded before he leaves office in December 2023.
Today a significant obstacle has been surpassed as this project moves forward through the financial process. Mayor Pro Tem Martin and the City of Houston are feeling very comfortable with this new BCR working with federal, state, and local partners toward finalizing this integral project to fortify the Lake Houston Area against future storms.