Deepening detention basin provides drainage relief

By Muhammad Ali

Located in west Houston, between Interstate 10 (IH-10) Frontage Road and Northbrook Drive, is Lumpkin Road. It runs along Houston Community College (HCC) and is used by the college’s nearly 8,000 students. Constructed in the mid-1970s, the roadway was built as a 22-ft narrow, undivided asphalt road devoid of shoulders and sidewalks, and with open ditches on either side. This caused mobility and safety issues for the students who commuted to the school and community residents. Additionally, the surrounding community faced flooding problems during extreme rain events.

Concerned with these issues, Houston’s Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone No. 17 (TIRZ 17)—an agency focused on developing and rehabilitating public infrastructure—added Lumpkin Road to its capital improvement program. The project’s main goals were to improve drainage, safety, mobility and quality of life. The improvements included widening the roadway to a 40-ft concrete curb and gutter section that would meet current geometric design standards, providing improved pedestrian access to HCC by adding wider sidewalks and a bus shelter with a seating area for students to congregate, and upgrading traffic operations. In addition, TIRZ 17 wanted to address the drainage deficiencies in the surrounding area and replace existing aging public utilities. To this end, TIRZ 17 retained Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam Inc. (LAN)—a planning, engineering and program management firm—as the engineer of record to evaluate and develop solutions that would improve Lumpkin Road’s drainage and roadway problems.

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