by Scott Gordon
County officials say that partnering with the Texas Department of Transportation and a contractor has saved them millions on the cost of excavating a lake for the planned John Paul’s Landing Park in Katy.
As crews with construction company JD Abrams work on a segment of the Grand Parkway that runs about 15.2 miles between I-10 and US 290, they need “filler material,” essentially dirt, to raise the road surface. They’ve gotten some of that by digging about 100 acres of the approximately 400-acre hole that will become the John Paul’s Landing lake.
“It’s work in-kind,” Harris County Flood Control District spokesperson Fred Garcia said. “They would get the material, and we would get the hole that we want.”
While the lake is intended mostly for canoeing and fishing, it will also be used to divert rainwater to control flooding. Garcia said private developers in the area might be able to get in on the dig as well, taking away the dirt they need, and possibly using the lake to channel rainwater runoff from their developments.
“Over time, we’re going to be proactively seeking others to dig more of the lake,” he said. “As they develop the land, they do have to make sure that their additional runoff doesn’t adversely affect anyone.”
Garcia said TxDOT contractors might even do more digging in the lake as they build other Grand Parkway segments in the area.
“We estimate a $4 million savings to TxDOT, because this site is available for their contractors to use,” he said.
By having TxDOT dig up 2 million cubic yards of dirt instead of bidding out that work, the Flood Control District saved about $10 to $12 million, Garcia said.