Sunday, March 07, 2010

Trinity River Update

The Trinity Parkway is intimately linked to the Trinity River levees, but the issues slowing the road and raising concerns about the city's risk of flood are not identical. Here's what's next for the Trinity levees.
• For years, the city has been working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to improve its levees, a plan that has grown to include all sorts of amenities, including the Trinity Parkway, lakes, parks and even a new course for part of the river. Congress authorized a $459 million project in 2007.
• To proceed with those projects, the city and the corps have to complete a feasibility study, one that looks at every element of the project and determines whether building all the amenities can be done without interfering with flood control.

• Congress is expected to reduce annual funding for the corps' share of the feasibility study, meaning that the project – including raising the levees, building the lakes, adding the road – could be delayed. To forestall that, a Dallas City Council committee last week approved a plan to take about $5 million in bond money slated to build the project's lakes and loan it to the corps.

• The existing levees flunked a corps inspection last year, and the city is spending $29 million to find out what needs to be done for them to be rated acceptable. That study is due in the next month or so, and the head of the City Council panel overseeing the Trinity River project says making levee repairs will require asking voters to approve a new bond package.