- Houston will a receive $9.4 million federal grant to install flood warning systems at 40 flood-prone sections of its streets, according to the Houston Chronicle. The grant will fund cameras, sensors and hardware, such as warning lights and signs, which will be installed this year.
- Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-TX, announced the award this week as part of the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program, which will give out $500 million to projects across the U.S. in 2018. This grant comes months after Hurricane Harvey wreaked destruction on the city.
- "Texans have experienced some of the worst flooding in our country’s history, and this is another step in the right direction," said Rep. John Culberson, R-TX, in a statement to the Chronicle. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner called the award "another significant step in making us more resilient" to major flooding.
Hurricane Harvey caused an estimated $125 billion, according to the National Hurricane Center, and killed at least 93 people. The city’s streets are at a disadvantage during heavy rains, as many are on low-lying ground, according to the Chronicle. And while some gates already close streets automatically, this would do even more to help drivers avoid dangerously high water.
The warning systems would relay information about street closures and high water to Houston TranStar, a collaboration between the city, Harris County, the Texas Department of Transportation and the Metropolitan Transit Authority.
This effort is part of Houston's ambitious plan to rebuild its downtown with proactive resiliency measures that could help the city avoid another $200 billion devastation. Mayor Turner also recently proposed new flood-related building codes that would require new buildings outside of Houston's floodplain to be constructed two feet above the ground, and would require developers to provide stormwater detention sites for previously paved areas.
With one eye on its future resiliency in the face of other extreme weather events, through this award and other innovations, it is evident Houston is looking to technology to help prepare and stay strong.