Holland Lake Channel Project Honored by APWA Texas
Four Freese and Nichols projects received awards from the American Public Works Association, Texas Chapter. The Holland Lake Channel Improvements were named Public Works Project of the Year in the Environmental Category, $2 million to $5 million.
Holland Lake Park is a key recreational destination within the City of Weatherford. In addition to its rich cultural heritage, Holland Lake provides a critical infrastructure function to the City because of the flood control and erosion protection afforded during heavy storm events.
In addition, the lake provides wildlife habitat for a variety of aquatic species and birds. The watershed that drains to Holland Lake has rapidly developed over the past decade leading to increased sedimentation which was threatening the ecological function of the lake. In an effort to protect the lake, the City completed a watershed study for Holland Lake Creek in 2013. The watershed study identified a variety of capital projects to address flooding and erosion risks throughout the watershed.
One of the key issues identified was the erosion progressing along Holland Lake Creek. This erosion was generating sediment load to the lake while also threatening private property. The channel was also flooding private property and creating a safety hazard. In the Timber Creek neighborhood, the lots were platted across the creek and the City had no property rights to make improvements to the creek.
The City took a proactive approach to address all of these issues with a single project, the Holland Lake Channel Improvements. The project included property acquisition, a modular block retaining wall to remove the floodplain from the remaining private property, and construction of natural stone drop structures to stabilize the erosion in the creek.
Thanks to this project, the City of Weatherford has a stable, healthy creek that will provide improved water quality to downstream Holland Lake. The City also removed 12 properties from the FEMA floodplain while creating an enhanced natural, city-owned, corridor adjacent to a hike/bike trail.
Below: The construction of the retaining wall provided the residents with usable backyard space backing up to the greenbelt. A wrought iron fence was installed to preserve the homeowners’ view of the creek.
Unusual Accomplishments Under Adverse Conditions
Through multiple site visits and discussion, plans were adjusted during construction to change the locations of drop structures. The immediate design adjustments prevented the severity of erosion within the project limits.
An existing wastewater main was identified as at risk to exposure if not addressed, so the project team implemented additional protection at the crossing, along with bank hardening to prevent migration of the stream centerline to the location of an existing wastewater manhole.
A major cross-country fiber optic line crossed the stream in the middle of the project and was exposed by rapidly occurring erosion. A cut or damage to this line would have been catastrophic to cross-county communications and presented a federal issue. The Weatherford project team coordinated with the telecommunications company to implement additional drop structure measures around the infrastructure at risk. In addition to avoiding conflicts with this project, the team leveraged the opportunity to protect the fiber optic line from any future impacts from naturally occurring stream erosion and migration.