City to begin $2.8M drainage project

Wider pipes to help ease flooding in heart of town

HARLINGEN — For 12 years, city officials have planned a project aimed at draining street flooding across the heart of town.

For the past five years, officials had requested the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s help in funding the project.

Now, a $1.2 million federal grant is helping the city launch the $2.8 million project.

To help fund the city’s share of the project, officials have set aside $1.6 million.

Earlier this month, city commissioners awarded a $2.59 million construction bid to G& G Contractors, the lowest bidder among five companies presenting proposals.

In the project’s executive summary, City Engineer Andy Vigstol questioned G& G’s experience and equipment.

However, further discussions with the contractor quelled his concerns, he told commissioners during an Aug. 19 meeting.

On Friday, Assistant City Manager Carlos Sanchez said the contractor will work with subcontractor Southern Tarantula Solutions of La Feria.

Project area

At City Hall, officials began planning the project as they developed their master storm water plan in 2008, the year Hurricane Dolly’s rains flooded much the city, Sanchez said. One of the city’s main drainage projects aims to curb street flooding in the area stretching from Harrison to Pierce Avenues, he said.

“It’s a big area,” Sanchez said. “What we see is flooding on roadways. We’ve seen some flooding on Tyler and Harrison and the Business 77 area.”

Scope

In 2018, a $92,963 FEMA grant helped fund a study that determined the area’s under-sized storm sewer pipes couldn’t handle floodwaters.

“In many instances, we’re replacing undersized pipe,” Sanchez said.

As part of the project, crews will replace 5,600 linear feet of storm sewer pipe, scrapping existing 18-inch to 32-inch storm sewer pipes to install 48-inch to 72-inch reinforced concrete pipes, he

said. “It improves and conveyance of storm water,” he said. “It will get the water out faster and into the Arroyo Colorado.”

The seven-month project’s construction is set to begin in September, he said.