The Texas Water Development Board recently approved a $27.5 million loan from the Flood Infrastructure Fund for a Sugar Land flood control project west of Sugar Land Regional Airport.
The financial assistance will allow for the planning, design and construction of flood mitigation. The loan’s zero percent interest rate could save Sugar Land residents approximately $14.4 million over the life of the loan.
The proposed project accommodates the construction of Owens Road and the future development of 540 acres west of SLRA – a total that includes 228 owned by the city and 312 owned by the nearby municipal utility district. The city envisions a private-sector partnership to develop a business park catering to light-industrial and aviation-related businesses. Expanding Sugar Land’s already strong economy ensures new revenue streams that fund the high level of services residents expect while maintaining one of the state’s lowest tax rates.
“Recent flood events affected the Police and Fire Training Facility, Sugar Land Regional Airport and the Central Prison Unit properties,” said City Engineer Jessie Li. “The 2015 Memorial Day flooding event and Hurricane Harvey highlighted the need to better protect our airport and address development opportunities of nearby properties. Not only will this project remove these areas from the 100-year floodplain, it will also remove commercial areas across U.S. Highway 90A from the floodplain.”
Other benefits will include storm water storage intended to minimize adverse impacts upstream and downstream, a higher level of protection from Oyster Creek and the reduction of excessive silt and storm water runoff. The project includes a wet detention pond, channel improvements, weir diversion structure, drop structures and diversion channels from Oyster Creek to Bullhead Bayou. Planning and environmental study will begin soon after the loan closes in December. Project planning, design and construction is expected to take about two and half years.
TWDB is the state agency charged with collecting and disseminating water-related data, assisting with regional water and flood planning, and preparing the state water and flood plans. The TWDB administers cost-effective financial assistance programs for the construction of water supply, wastewater treatment, flood control and agricultural water conservation projects.
TWDB’s loan approval for the Oyster Creek diversion project builds on a previous zero percent loan that saved Sugar Land taxpayers more than $7.6 million for drainage projects in Austin Park and Chimneystone.
“We continue to look for creative approaches to deliver projects that meet the needs of our citizens,” said Li. “These drainage projects have been identified as a top priority for our residents, and we’re proud to be able to deliver them in a fiscally responsible manner.”