Once Texas engineers had time to study the damage to the Lake Conroe Dam caused by Hurricane Katrina and estimate the necessary repairs, they determined that the additional cost was probably on the order of $3 million, and the time to complete the work probably no more than four months.
By the time they had completed the bidding package, both the engineers and the San Jacinto River Authority were comfortable that the cost would probably be less than $3 million, and that the work could be completed in 100 calendar days at the maximum.
Bids were received on Dec. 5, with six construction companies submitting bids which ranged from a low of $1,689,502 to a high of $3,249,075.
The engineers did a very quick and thorough check of the low bidder, Serco Construction Group, and found them to be very capable of performing the work.
In a special board meeting on Dec. 8, the SJRA Board of Directors authorized the general manager to sign a contract with Serco, contingent on the engineers’ approval of the bonds and insurance required by the contract.
The contract allowed for 100 calendar days for the construction, and also provided for a $1,000 per day bonus for each day that the contractor finishes ahead of schedule.
In the pre-construction meeting with the contractor, which was held on Jan. 4, he presented his schedule indicating no problem in meeting the April 18 completion date.
In fact, he believes that he can beat that date by a significant amount.
The first week of the year, the contractor was busy getting submittals approved from the engineer, delivering equipment to the job site, staking work limits, and generally mobilizing for the job.
Rock deliveries began on January 9 and continue for the duration of the job.
The rock is being trucked in from a quarry near Corsicana and will be delivered to the dam by way of SH 105.
The equipment used for the project include a Hyundai 360 excavator and two Terex TA 30 rock trucks, supplied by Four Seasons Equipment.
Motorists are urged to use caution over the next few months while driving on SH 105, and to especially watch for turning trucks at Dam Site Road and the access road at the west end of the dam near the entrance to Waterford Estates.
The contractor will stockpile rock at the east end of the dam and the repair work will also begin at the east end and progress in a westerly direction.
One other issue that is on many peoples minds is the reintroduction of the grass carp, or white amur, into Lake Conroe to help control the re-infestation of Hydrilla.
The Texas Parks and Wild-life Department (TPWD) made a very interesting and informative presentation Nov. 15 on the benefits of the grass carp in a limited and controlled program, and numerous property owners, business owners and bass fisherman took the opportunity to voice their opinion.
The most surprising results of the meeting was that property owners and bass fisherman alike were both in favor of the program as outlined by the TPWD.
Apparently, almost everyone concerned believes that a limited and controlled program will benefit all users of the lake, and, unlike the first stocking in the 1980s, when the bass fisherman filed lawsuits to prevent the stocking, everyone is working together this time.
There are several projects around the lake that are taking advantage of the low water by repairing piers and bulkheads, dredging boat slips, removing submerged stumps and tree tops, and cleaning the lake bottom in front of private properties.
There is still plenty of lake to enjoy, but, be aware of changed conditions brought on by the lower water level, and exercise appropriate caution.
For more information, visit www.sjra.net.
This article originally appeared in the February 2006 edition of The Dockline.