In the heart of Dallas, Texas, stands a testament to flood risk management, public safety, partnership, and engineering excellence- the Dallas Floodway project. The Flood Risk Management project recently reached a milestone with the substantial completion of the West Levee 277k crest raise and side slope flattening features of work.
As with any complex, multi-year civil works construction project, partnership plays a pivotal role in project success. For the Dallas Floodway, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has partnered with the City of Dallas as the non-federal sponsor as well as other Federal, State, and Local agencies.
A levee is defined as a man-made structure, usually an earthen embankment, designed and constructed in accordance with sound engineering practices to contain, control, or divert the flow of water to reduce risk from temporary flooding. While levees can help reduce the risk of flooding, it is important to remember that they do not eliminate the risk. As with any manmade structure, routine and reoccurring maintenance is important. The City of Dallas maintains the responsibility of ensuring the levees retain their effectiveness through compliance with operations and maintenance activities.
The funding for these initiatives was allocated through the Supplemental Appropriation in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018.
"Flood protection is at the heart of this project, aiming to keep the surrounding communities and businesses from flooding. We aim to fulfill the Corps mission of keeping people safe," said Aaron Philips, USACE Construction Project Coordinator at the Dallas Floodways Resident Office.
Spanning along the Trinity River, the project encompasses a substantial area, reaching from the abandoned Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe trestle to the confluence of the West and Elm Forks, and further upstream along the West Fork for about 2.2 miles, as well as approximately four miles along the Elm Fork.
The construction phase, while in its beginning stages, consists of over seven different features: the AT&SF Bridge Modification (completed in February 2021), 277K Levee Raise and Side Slope Flattening, construction of the Trinity Portland Pump Station, construction of the Charlie Pump Station, replacement of the Delta Pump Station, construction and upgrade to the Hampton Pump Station and improvements to the Nobles Branch Sump.
"Currently, the 277k levee raise, the construction of the Charlie pump station, and the Trinity Portland pump station just scratch the surface of the seven features planned," said Mark Hermann, USACE Program Manager.
Named the "277K levee raise and side slope flattening”, the $56 million project's moniker stems from the levee's elevation intended to sustain 277,000 cubic feet per second of water flow through the floodway. This amount of flow would be the equivalent of three Olympic sized swimming pools releasing their water in an instant.
The project involves raising the current East and West levees over a 23-mile stretch to the 277k cubic feet per second water surface elevation as well as flattening the riverside slopes. The 277k levee raise involves using earthen material to raise the low areas of the current levees to the height consistent with the 277k flow within the floodway. The side slope flattening consists of flattening the slopes of the levee to make them less steep. This will increase the overall stability of the levees and decrease operations and maintenance costs once completed.
On August 2, 2023, after years of planning and a year and a half of construction, the project reached a milestone by completing all improvements to the West levee along the Trinity River in Dallas.
A joint inspection of the 277k Levee Raise and Side Slope Flattening for the west levee was conducted by the USACE and the construction company, transferring over the responsibility of operation and maintenance to the City of Dallas.
"The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers number one priority is public safety, and so with the 277k levee raise and pump station improvements across the Dallas Floodway program, we are delivering that for the City of Dallas," said Stanley Young, USACE Resident Engineer.
The overall Dallas Floodway project, with its commitment, collaboration, and forward-thinking approach, edges closer to its goal of delivering a strong and capable levee system for the City of Dallas. Its dedication stands as a testament to mitigating flood risks to the community from potential natural disasters while assuring their well-being remains paramount.
About the Dallas Floodway: Find out what the Corps of Engineers is doing in the Dallas Floodway by visiting our dedicated website here: