Baytown-West Chambers County Economic Development Foundation | 1300 Rollingbrook Dr., Suite 610 | Baytown, TX 77521 | 281.420.2961 |

Harris Co. commissioner talks up major projects

October 17, 2018

In a “State of the County” address to the Baytown Chamber of Commerce Tuesday, Harris County Pct. 2 Commissioner Jack Morman highlighted on-going and future projects that will impact greater Baytown. 

“Like Baytown, Pct. 2 and east Harris County has a lot going on — things are absolutely booming, and Baytown is probably the epicenter of that activity,” Morman said. “Our top priority right now at the county and in the precinct is flood control and flood prevention.” 

Morman, a native of a Deer Park, said one of the biggest and historical projects is that of the $2.5 billion bond that will fund flood control projects across the county.  

As the largest bond measure ever approved in Harris County history — with 86 percent approval — Morman said the county could leverage state and federal funds with the hope of securing upwards of $6 billion in flood prevention measures.  

Prior to Harvey, the Harris County Flood Control District conducted the Cedar Bayou Watershed Study, which was issued after the Memorial Day and tax day floods in 2015 and 2016.

“As a result of that study and being ahead of the curve, we have projects that are ready to go,” Morman said. “So Cedar Bayou will see its projects green-lighted and begun before almost any other watershed.” 

In addition to the bond, Morman said the county continues to do maintenance to the entire flood control system, and, since Harvey, the Flood Control District has removed over 250,000 pounds of debris from Cedar Bayou, the San Jacinto River and the Goose Creek Watershed. 

Morman also spoke about the highly anticipated replacement of the bridge along the Sam Houston Tollway, between Highway 225 and Interstate 10. 

“It is under construction right now. It’ll be built in two spans; we’ll build one four-lane span where the current bridge is right by it. Knock down that bridge and then build the second four-lane span,” Morman said. “When finished, we’re going to double the capacity of the toll bridge.” 

“And that is the biggest public works project in the history of Harris County,” he added. 

With a nearly $1 billion price tag on the project to rebuild and replace the Beltway 8 Ship Channel Bridge, the Harris County Toll Road Authority doesn’t anticipate the bridge to be completed until 2024. The new cable-stayed bridge will look similar to the Fred Hartman Bridge. 

“Commissioner Morman has been outstanding over the years of service on the council. He came in as being known for prioritizing infrastructure, which has come true,” former city councilman Terry Sain said. “Without that commitment, we would not see all of the things that have been going on here in Baytown with the San Jacinto Boulevard, Cedar Bayou Lynchburg and all the many other projects. Just like the toll bridge, he has been an advocate of getting that toll bridge widened, and so we now see the fruits of his hard work in getting that done.”    

In terms of local infrastructure projects, Morman said they’re working on the reconstruction of Wallisville Road, from Garth Road to North Main Street. Morman said it would be a five-lane improvement with storm surge drainage and sidewalks.  

“The choke point there is we have to work with the San Jacinto River Authority to widen their siphon,” Morman said. “Once they do that we can finally get started, and they tell us they’re going to start on that project in January of next year.”  

Morman said they’re also looking to improve the Cedar Bayou Lynchburg corridor. “They’re in the study right now, and they’re going to come back with recommendations on how we can widen that and reduce the congestion there,” he said. 

Ever since Morman was elected back in 2010, he’s worked closely with the City of Baytown on countless projects that Mayor Stephen DonCarlos recognized during Tuesday’s luncheon.   

“You’ve done a fantastic job,” DonCarlos said to the commissioner. “I can say you have truly been a breath of fresh air, you’ve been a partner to your cities. We have done so many great projects together — road projects, infrastructure projects — out here with all of the billions of dollars in projects we have had and do have going on. And I want to give you my thanks for all the help that you’ve been to me over the years, and the thanks of our city for what a great partner you have made Harris County.” 

By Christopher James, Baytown Sun