SJRA water line break update 4 p.m.

By: Commissioner James Noack- Montgomery County Precinct Three
| Published 09/14/2019


THE WOODLANDS, TX -- UPDATE: Saturday, Sept. 14 - 4 p.m. SJRA water line break update:

Repair work on the westbound lanes of Research Forest Drive will continue early Sunday morning with subgrade stabilization.

The lanes in both directions were shut down Friday afternoon after a San Jacinto River Authority water pipeline burst, shooting a significant amount of water through the subsurface underneath Research Forest Drive. The 30-inch pipeline, which runs underneath eastbound Research Forest Drive, was damaged east of Technology Forest. Lanes in both directions, between Technology Forest Drive and New Trails, have been closed since Friday afternoon.

Investigation, geotechnical boring and core sampling overnight Friday and early Saturday showed minimal displacement of subgrade material underneath the westbound lanes in the aftermath of the pipeline blowout.
The placement of flowable poly material underneath the westbound lanes will backfill any small voids. This also will confirm whether the voids are minimal, as determined by the initial testing. If so, this will allow for the westbound lanes to reopen in a timely manner.

The primary damage occurred on the eastbound lanes of Research Forest Drive. A significant amount of pavement subgrade was transported through water flow, leaving the pavement structure without adequate support for traffic on the eastbound lanes. The eastbound lanes will remain closed until the water is fully evacuated, the subgrade is exposed, and the full extent of the water pipeline damage can be determined and repaired.

After reparation of the pipeline, the eastbound pavement will be repaired and lanes reopened.

The Precinct 3 Commissioner’s Office is recommending that motorists avoid Research Forest Drive in the affected area. Alternative routes along Woodlands Parkway, Lake Woodlands Drive, Texas 242 and FM 1488 should be taken in order to avoid the lane closures.

The Precinct 3 Office is working with the SJRA to ensure traffic and mobility disruptions are kept to a minimum. The Precinct 3 Constable’s Office has officers directing traffic at the intersection of Technology Forest Drive and New Trails, south of Research Forest Drive.

Research Forest Drive remains closed in both directions between New Trails and Technology Forest Drive due to the San Jacinto River Authority’s significant water line break underneath the eastbound lanes, just east of Technology Forest, Friday afternoon.

The break of the 30-inch line sent water shooting through the subsurface of the road, causing an undetermined amount of damage to the subgrade and structure of Research Forest Drive at that location.

Contractors for the SJRA continued to pump water out of the affected area overnight Friday and continued Saturday. The SJRA has shut off valves on both ends of an approximately 1,000-foot stretch to isolate the leak and stop the water flow.

The contractor also is breaking up more of the road to expose the void and reach the breached water line, which is approximately 11-12 feet below the surface of the road.

Coring crews also have been working to determine whether the ground beneath the westbound lanes was compromised. The coring will commence on the eastbound lanes once the water is completely removed from that area..

Precinct 3 will work with paving crews to start repairing the road once the extent of the damage is determined.

East-west traveling motorists are recommended to avoid this stretch of Research Forest Drive and use alternative routes such as Woodlands Parkway, Lake Woodlands Drive and Texas 242.

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