Houston Public Works transmission line project earns statewide recognition

Houston Public Works (HPW), Lockwood, Andrews and Newnam, Inc. (LAN), and Harper Brothers Construction, LLC (HBC) have received the Texas Chapter of the American Public Works Association (TX-APWA) 2023 Project of the Year Award for Environment, $25M-$75M category, for the SWTP 72-in. Water Line from Emancipation to Tuam.

The 72-in. water line is part of HPW’s Surface Water Transmission Program (SWTP). The overall goal of the SWTP is to reduce ground subsidence in the Houston area by increasing surface water usage, decreasing groundwater use, and improving the reliability of the water supply system. In addition to the 72-in. diameter water line, the project included full roadway reconstruction, drainage improvements, traffic signalization improvements, street lighting improvements, sidewalk improvements, and small diameter water line replacements. This segment, the first in a series of four such projects, began in East Downtown and ended in Midtown.

The TX-APWA award was to be presented on June 28 at the Waco Convention Center during the Mammoth TX-APWA Public Works Conference and Exhibition

Carol Haddock, Director of Houston Public Works, said, “This project created resilience in the drinking water transmission system and replaced nearly 8,000 ft of distribution lines to upgrade some of Houston’s older infrastructure. Crews made improvements to drainage, sidewalks, and streetlights to benefit communities in two council districts. These changes will lay a foundation to improve the quality of life for generations to come.” 

The construction work, which began in the spring of 2020 and was completed in the summer of 2022, overcame numerous challenges including pandemic-related supply chain issues and the record-breaking Winter Storm Uri. 

Christine Kirby, PE, ENV SP, LAN’s project manager, says, “There was nothing ordinary about this multi-faceted, multi-discipline project. Inherent challenges included working in a dense urban environment with mature trees and crowded utilities. In addition to the large-scale underground construction and rehabilitation work, special care and attention was given to enhance above-ground features and aesthetics of the local community. A team-oriented approach between the city, the engineering team, and the contractor was key to the success of the project,” said Kirby.

Overall, the active collaboration between HPW, the contractor, and the engineering team led to the project’s success. Thanks to HPW’s ongoing water system expansion projects, Houston’s drinking water system maintains a “Superior Water Supply System” rating, the highest rating for water quality issued by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

The TX-APWA organization is part of the American Public Works Association (APWA), a not-for-profit, international educational and professional association of public agencies, private sector companies, and individuals dedicated to providing high-quality public works goods and services. APWA serves its members by promoting professional excellence and public awareness through education, advocacy, and the exchange of knowledge.

LAN is a full-service consulting firm offering planning, engineering and program management services for the nation’s heavy civil infrastructure needs. LAN is a LEO A DALY company, an international architecture and engineering firm.

Houston Public Works is the largest and most diverse public works organization in the country, responsible for creating a strong foundation for Houston to thrive. Houston Public Works is responsible for streets and drainage, production and distribution of water, collection, and treatment of wastewater, and permitting and regulation of public and private construction covering a 671-square mile service area. Houston Public Works is accredited by the American Public Works Association.   

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