Upper Trinity River Feasibility Study

includes the Dallas Floodway and the Elm Fork Floodplain Management Study

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), working in cooperation with the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) and 14 local governments in the North Central Texas region, initiated the Upper Trinity River Feasibility Study in 1990. The purpose of this study is to identify and carry forward potential projects to address flood damage reduction, water quality, environmental enhancement, recreation and other related needs throughout the Trinity River Corridor.

Potential projects carried forward into detailed studies are those for which the local jurisdiction agrees to provide half of the funding. The Dallas City Council authorized the City's participation in the study of the Dallas Floodway and the Stemmons/North Industrial District on June 12, 1996. City matching funds for a Corps project would be provided through the bond program approved on May 2, 1998.

Project Update for the Dallas Floodway

Within the existing Dallas Floodway, the following initiatives are being investigated for Federal interest by the Corps; raising of the existing levees by two feet, lake development, channel meandering, tree plantings, modification to the ATSF Railroad Bridge, and recreation facilities (trails, parking, etc). These initiatives would address additional flood protection, environmental restoration, and recreation for the existing Dallas Floodway. Any Corps project that emerges from this ongoing feasibility study would be compatible with the selected alignment of the Trinity Parkway and the City's Balanced Vision Plan for the Dallas Floodway . This study would represent an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that would be conducted in concert with the ongoing EIS for the Trinity Parkway.

A privately funded Urban Design Study was conducted from September 2002 to October 2003 to reassess the Master Implementation Plan (MIP) for the Dallas Floodway that was completed in 1999. In conjunction with the private study, Camp Dresser & McKee, Inc. (CDM) was contracted by the Trinity River Corridor Project in January 2003 to provide technical guidance to the Urban Design team and provide water quality and engineering modeling for the Dallas Floodway initiatives.

A final report, "Balanced Vision Plan for the Trinity River Corridor", was produced in December 2003. City Council was briefed on December 3, 2003 and approved the new "Balanced Vision Plan" for the Dallas Floodway on December 8, 2003. This approval modifies the 1999 MIP for the Dallas Floodway while proposing no changes to the Great Trinity Forest conceptual plan (DART Bridge to IH-20).

As the Balanced Vision Plan was being approved by City Council in December 2003, CDM continued engineering efforts to assess, validate, and complete modeling for the Dallas Floodway. As a result of this work, City staff presented "Refinement of the Balanced Vision Plan" (March 1, 2004) to the Trinity River Committee that focused on more river channel meanders and less wetlands. City staff followed with another briefing, "Refinement of the Balanced Vision Plan" (March 22, 2004) that focused on lake configuration changes to better accommodate the I-30 Signature Bridge initiative and reverse lake flow for the Urban Lake and the Natural Lake. The Trinity River Committee supported these refinements, which were approved by full City Council on April 14, 2004. The Corps facilitated a public scoping meeting for their Dallas Floodway feasibility study in Dallas on December 13, 2005. The public was given opportunity to provide comments regarding the study and the potential projects that could be pursued for the Dallas Floodway. CDM completed the water quality modeling for the lakes and submitted a final report to the City on January 16, 2006. (1.2 MB) These results will be rolled into the ongoing Corps' feasibility study of the Dallas Floodway.

The City prepared a Request for Qualifications / Proposals (RFQ/P) for the Trinity Lakes Design that produced seven proposals. The CH2M-Hill team was chosen and City Council approved the Trinity Lakes Design contract and fee proposal ($9.617,928.30) on November 8, 2006. The Notice to Proceed for this design contract was issued to the CH2M-Hill team on November 15, 2006. The design contract includes design guidelines to be developed for the Dallas Floodway and the Great Trinity Forest vicinity, branding (logo, etc), design guidelines for the Trinity Parkway, and preparation of the Dallas Floodway (move utilities, bridge pier modifications, drainage outfall modifications, surveying, geotechnical investigations) for phase-1 construction to include river relocation from Sylvan to the DART Bridge. In addition to design for phase-1 construction, the design contract also includes schematic and design work for lake amenities (promenade, trails, public art, water features, landscaping, lighting, etc) that will be located near the downtown vicinity in the Dallas Floodway. Public access strategy for the Dallas Floodway will include a Reunion Overlook Plaza over the Trinity Parkway, public access points along the levees, and an observation deck that could be constructed by end of 2007 for the public to witness the transformation of the Dallas Floodway. The design contract will also include a website for the public and project participants to view the overall progress of the Trinity Lakes Design team.

Next Steps

  • The Trinity Lakes Design is underway. Initial efforts will include Dallas Floodway and Great Trinity Forest design guidelines, branding, floodway preparation, and design for an observation deck (constructed by December 2007). The river relocation (Sylvan to the DART Bridge) will start in December 2006 with plan formulation involving the Corps.
  • Efforts on ongoing to finalize necessary changes to the Trinity Parkway to satisfy Corps' concerns with the existing Dallas Floodway levees. Once these changes are finalized (February 2007 timeframe), other design components for the lake amenities and the Urban Lake and Natural Lake can proceed as part of the Trinity Lakes Design.
  • Phase-1 project design (river relocation, etc) should be completed by July 2008, while the Phase-2 project design (lake amenities, lakes) should be started in mid-2008 and completed by December 2009. Dallas Floodway preparation should be completed by December 2009, while Phase-1 and Phase-2 construction should be completed by mid-2013.
  • The Corps will continue with its Dallas Floodway feasibility study and expects to have a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) by December 2007, a Final EIS by Mar 2008, and a Record of Decision by July 2008. This EIS will establish Federal interest (cost participation) in a project for the Dallas Floodway in concert with the City.

Project Update for Elm ForkThe Corps' detailed study for the Stemmons North Industrial District along the Elm Fork of the Trinity River has been suspended. At this time, the Corps has not identified any significant project to carry forward. As a result, the City completed its own floodplain management study for this Elm Fork corridor to investigate possible improvements regarding flood damage reduction, environmental restoration, and recreation amenities.This Elm Fork Floodplain Management Study was awarded by City Council in June 2000 to the consulting firm of Freese and Nichols. This study contains recommendations that were briefed to City Council on October 1, 2003 and adopted by City Council on November 12, 2003 for guidance to future projects and plans for the Elm Fork corridor in Dallas. The Corps has been asked to investigate the results of the study for potential Corps participation. Another briefing was conducted for the Trinity River Committee on February 2, 2004 to address some specific questions. The final report for the Elm Fork Floodplain Management Study was received in September 2004.

Next Steps

  • The City is currently pursuing real estate acquisition activities for the soccer complex footprint that should be completed by early 2008. The soccer complex master plan is expected to be completed by Spring 2007, while design should be completed by spring 2008. Construction should be completed during 2010. Design for the flood control initiatives should be completed by December 2007. Construction of the "ring levee" project is anticipated to be completed by December 2011.
  • Other recreation and open-space initiatives are dependent on timing and availability of funding.
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