Houston Wins Competitive Grant to Improve Flood Warning Signals at Traffic Intersections
HOUSTON, TX In partnership with county and state government, the city of Houston, Texas, has won a $9.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to improve 40 flood-prone traffic intersections with new technology that alerts drivers when high water is present.
Former City Council Member Larry Green advocated for the grant application to the Department of Transportation on a recent trip to Washington, D.C., on behalf of the city. The proposal includes a location in District K, which Green represented, at Alt U.S. 90 and Beltway 8.
The city's proposal, in collaboration with the Houston District of the Texas Department of Transportation and Harris County, targets 40 sites in the region where high water on roadways poses a threat to drivers and passengers. The sites will be equipped with red light warnings backup power generators and batteries. Guided wave sensors will monitor for high water.
Currently, most of the yellow light signals at the sites are powered with batteries charged with solar panels. Yellow lights can be confused by drivers for less immediately dangerous warnings, such as entering a school zone. Extended cloudy conditions can cause the systems to lose power.
The new sensors will be connected to partner web sites (Harris County Flood Control District's warning system and the Transtar Traffic Map) allowing high water warnings to automatically be added to online traffic maps. Connecting the sensors to these partner sites will mean that drivers will be able map commuting routes to avoid the sites.
The grant will provide nearly two thirds of the $14.4 million required to make the improvements. The city will contribute $3.27 million, TxDOT $1.39 million and Harris County $380,000.