North Texas Breaks Ground on $1.6B Reservoir

North Texas Breaks Ground on $1.6B Reservoir

Original Post: Construction Dive | Kim Slowey | June 6, 2018

Dive Brief:

  • The North Texas Municipal Water District on May 25 broke ground on the $1.6 billion North Texas Municipal Lake, the first major new reservoir in North Texas in almost 30 years.
  • Archer Western is reportedly the construction manager for the project, which has already seen a month’s worth of excavation work, according to North Texas E-News. Tennessee-based Phillips & Jordan has been performing excavation work at the site of the reservoir’s dam, and Hammett Excavation out of Dodd City, Texas, has been doing road and tree removal work. Crews will eventually build a 90-foot-high by 700-foot-wide earthen dam capable of storing 120 billion gallons of water, which will help serve the district’s 1.7 million customers.
  • Archer Western reportedly said the project’s construction jobs should hit 300, with 24-hour rotating shifts possible at the peak of activity. The project is expected to start delivering water in 2022, and, with it, district officials are projecting a $316 million increase in property values and hundreds of millions in revenue from recreational opportunities the new lake will bring.

Dive Insight:

Of course, creating a new lake means flooding land, and some Fannin County landowners are pushing back through a lawsuit meant to stop the reservoir project. Nine local residents are suing the Army Corps of Engineers, which issued the construction permit, claiming that the loss of land will threaten their livelihoods, according to NBC Dallas Fort Worth. The suit also alleges that the Army Corps did adhere to environmental regulations established to make sure projects like the reservoir explore other less-damaging alternatives.

The water district, although it has broken ground and started work on the project, has not acquired 15% of the land necessary to complete the reservoir. District officials told NBC DFW that it is the process of appraising the remaining land and making formal offers.

Another Texas project has also antagonized some landowners, and that is the planned $15 Dallas-to-Houston high-speed rail line, which promises to get travelers from one city to the other in 90 minutes. The project has received constant pushback, legal and otherwise, from landowners along its route who do not want to give up their homes to the rail or do not want it cutting through their property.  Despite legal action, developer Texas Central Partners has continued to move forward with its privately-financed plans and recently hired project manager Bechtel, Fluor, Lane Construction and WSP to handle the major project elements.