News From Harlingen, Texas
Harlingen Making Drainage Improvements

Harlingen, Texas– The City of Harlingen has taken on ten improvement projects aimed at helping minimize the possibility of flooding. The improvements are being done in specific areas where flooding occurred during the June 24, 2019, rain event that dumped 12-15 inches of rain in parts of the City within 3 ½ hours.


The ten projects call for cleaning, widening, replacing, and in some cases repairing the infrastructure of the drainage ditches within the City.  The work is currently being done by Public Works staff but some projects will be contracted out because of the scope of the work. The improvements started in July and three of the projects have already been completed.


  • Altas Palmas –completed
  • Beckham Road–completed
  • Lake Drive– completed
  • Secluded Acres–completion date November 2019
  • Becky Lane–completion date September 2019
  • 13th Street Drainage Ditch–completion date March 2020
  • Dixieland Drainage Ditch–completion date March 2020
  • 9th & 13th Street Drainage Improvements–completion date July 2020
  • Halpin Road–completion date October 2019
  • Jefferson Drain Ditch–completion date December 2019


The completed projects include the drain ditch on Altas Palmas where Public Works crews removed an existing 8-inch PVC pipe at the point where the road side ditch discharges into the main drain ditch. It was replaced with an 18-inch corrugated pipe.  They also cleared the space around the pipe of vegetation.  These improvements will increase the flow of water in the area.


On Beckham Road, crews also removed and reinstalled an 18-inch outfall pipe at the north end of the road side ditch where it discharges into the main drain ditch.  They then cleaned out the storm grate located on the north east corner of the intersection of Beckham and Queen Sago to improve the flow of storm water.


Drainage improvements are also complete on Lake Drive where two undersized curb inlets were removed and replaced with 3 ft. by 4 ft. grate inlets.  The new inlets are larger and will allow more storm water to enter the storm pipes. They also installed an additional 18-inch concrete storm drain pipe that connects the two grate inlets.


In the Secluded Acres Subdivision crews are building up the berm on the south side of the Cameron County Drainage District #5 (CCDD #5) main drain ditch that overflowed during the June flood.  Some areas of the berm are being elevated between 24 to 30 inches.


In addition, flap gates will be installed on all five storm pipes that drain water out of this subdivision.   The flap gates will help keep water in the main drain ditch flowing out instead of back into the streets of the subdivision.


The flap gates should be installed by November 2019 and the elevation of the berm will be finished by September 27.  These improvements will also help Spanish Acres which is the adjacent subdivision to the north.


Meantime, Drainage District # 5 is currently working on two storm water detention ponds that will also help take water from the drain ditch and reduce the water elevation in the ditch that serves Secluded Acres and Spanish Acres Subdivisions.


On Becky Lane, Public Works crews removed approximately 184 linear feet of curb and reset it so that water flows to the intersection of Emerald Lake.  An additional 24-inch concrete pipe was installed on Emerald Lake Drive to carry water from the inlet on the west side to the detention pond on the east side.  A new inlet is also being added on the east side of Emerald Lake.  Crews are currently installing the inlet boxes and the project is expected to be complete by September 6.



Work to widen the 13th Street Drainage Ditch will start on September 3. This is a joint project with CCDD #5 and the Harlingen Irrigation District #1 (HID #1).  The ditch is located on the west side of 13th Street and extends almost 10 thousand linear ft. north where it discharges in to the North Main Drain.


This ditch serves a large area that includes several subdivisions, a high school, a fire station, sanitary sewer lift stations, commercial development, and undeveloped land currently used for agriculture.  The scope of the work here includes widening the ditch and increasing the size of one culvert crossing.


Harlingen Irrigation District #1 will provide the majority of the labor, equipment, and materials.  The City’ share of the cost is $100,500 to cover the portion between Matz to Montezuma Roads. The excavation will begin at the north end of ditch heading south toward Matz Road.  All improvements to this ditch are expected to be completed by March 2020.


The City will also partner with HID #1 and CCDD #5 to widen the drainage ditch on Dixieland Road.  This project will begin in October 2019 and covers the area from Lincoln Street south past Dixieland to where it discharges in to the Arroyo Colorado.


Crews will also increase the size of four culvert crossings.  These improvements will provide flood relief to an area that includes several subdivisions, a high school, a fire station, and a large commercial area.  Harlingen Irrigation District No. 1 will provide the majority of the labor and equipment for the project.


The City will have to pay an estimated amount of up to $342,194 for the portion between Lincoln to the west side of Dixieland Road. The project is expected to be complete by March 2020.


The 9th and 13th Street Drainage Improvement Project will also help improve storm water run-off.  These improvements were identified in the City’s 2008 Master Drainage Plan.  This is a large project that calls for the removal of the existing storm sewer drain pipes and replacing them with 48-inch reinforced concrete pipes.  Fourteen manholes and 52 inlets will also have to be removed and replaced.


The new and larger pipes will increase the capacity of the system and improve its efficiency as it moves storm water south toward the Arroyo Colorado.


The estimated cost of this project is estimated at $2.7 million which the City will share with FEMA.  The City’s required match is estimated at $1.6 million which has been allocated in the proposed 2019-2020 Fiscal Year Budget.


If the budget is approved, the City can go out for bids in October 2019 with construction beginning as early as November and completed within five to six months.


City of Harlingen Public Works staff will also be working on Halpin Road to improve drainage there. The plan is to re-establish a road side ditch on both sides of Halpin from Business 83 north to the main drain ditch.  This will allow the flow of water to go north to the point where it discharges into the main ditch.


Some driveway culverts will need to be removed but will be rebuilt at a new slope that will allow for a positive flow of storm water.


Culverts will also be added to areas where driveway entrances currently do not have one. Crews are scheduled to begin excavating the area on September 16 and the project should be complete by October 11.



The June 24, 2019, flood resulted in substantial damage to the concrete panels along the Jefferson Drainage Ditch.  The panels suffered extensive damage due to water infiltration that caused the dirt to expand and push against the concrete panels.  Because of its own weight, the concrete cracked.  This ditch is close to Bonham Elementary and steps have been taken to ensure the school traffic is not affected.   The City Engineer has prepared the construction plan for this project and it is currently in the bidding process.  The City expects to award the project is September allowing the repairs to begin in October with a completion date of December 2019.  The project cost is estimated to be $300,000.

Harlingen residents can keep informed on these drainage improvement projects by visiting the city’s webpage and clicking on the special link titled Drainage Maintenance Map and Current Improvements under the popular links on the home page.


L-R Secluded Acres, Dixieland,Halpin, Jefferson Ditch

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