Granite snares $48M Texas flood control job from USACE

Award: Colorado River flood mitigation project
Value: $48 million
Location: Wharton, Texas
Clients: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

When it rains, it pours. 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has selected Granite Construction for a $48 million flood mitigation project in Wharton, Texas, to protect the city from historical flooding challenges along the Colorado River and three nearby creeks, the company announced

The job will include the construction of four levee reaches, five interior gravity sump areas, storm sewer relief systems, slope repair activities and miscellaneous paving improvements. 

The win comes on the heels of the Watsonville, California-based contractor’s recent win of a $173 million weir project, also from USACE, closer to home in Sacramento, California.

For the Texas project, earthen levees will stretch approximately 11,800 linear feet, with a top width of 16 feet, an average height of 8 feet and a base width of 80 feet. By strategically positioning the levees, Granite said, the project aims to create a robust defense system that will protect vulnerable areas from a deluge.

Flood mitigation projects and dams have garnered increased attention in the face of climate change and the risks associated with rising water levels. In Michigan, the Edenville and Sanford dam failures have spurred litigation and finger pointing as to who was ultimately responsible for the collapse after warning signs emerged nearly a decade earlier. 

And in the wake of the near toppling of the Oroville Dam in California in 2017, a disaster that was only narrowly averted by sacrificing the structure’s crumbling main spillway, more questions have arisen about the country’s aging dam infrastructure. 

The Association of State Dam Safety Officials recently reported that $158 billion is needed to fix more than 88,000 non-federal dams deemed deficient across the country. Meanwhile, the possibility of an “Arkstorm,” where California receives two back-to-back years of atmospheric rivers, prompted The New York Times Magazine to publish a cover article looking at California’s dams, titled “The Trillion Gallon Question.” 

Essential measures

Granite said the USACE’s project in Texas will help give the city of Wharton a fighting chance during a possible onslaught of water from the Colorado River and other nearby creeks. 

“These essential measures are designed to fortify the city’s defenses and minimize the impact of future flood events,” said Matt Shepherd, Granite’s vice president of regional operations.

In addition to the levee system, the project will implement five interior gravity sumps featuring cast-in-place structures equipped with sluice or flap gates, Granite said, to manage water levels and reduce the risk of localized flooding.

The project is planned to begin in September and is expected to be completed in December 2024, Granite said.

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