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Fort Worth Central City – Revitalization of an Urban Floodway

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The Trinity River floodway in downtown Fort Worth is a federally-funded, grassed channel overseen by the Fort Worth District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and maintained by the Tarrant Regional Water District (TRWD). The purpose of the project is to bypass flood flows around an under-utilized area north of downtown Fort Worth, allowing for revitalization and development of a new “isolated” waterfront area located within a natural meander of the river. The newly created waterfront will then allow redevelopment of the aged commercial/ industrial areas to environmentally friendly, mixed-use, medium- to high-density neighborhoods.

Major components of the project include a 1.6-mile floodway bypass channel and levee system, three major flood isolation gates, a controlled backwater lock and dam with seven hydraulically operated leaf gates, a 1,000-plus-acre valley storage mitigation and recreational park site, ecosystem restoration, and four major roadway bridges. One of the main challenges of the bypass channel engineering design has been balancing the project goals of achieving reduced flood levels, meeting applicable flood management criteria, and minimizing anticipated construction costs.

This paper discusses the analyses and refinements that were identified during design of the bypass channel to overcome several competing challenges. Although rigorous, consideration of interconnected project features was necessary to satisfy multiple technical objectives for the project. Both numerical and physical models were developed to provide a reliable foundation for the hydraulic analyses. The resulting bypass channel design represents a balance of features working in concert to meet technical requirements, minimize the loss of valley storage, and optimize project funding opportunities.
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Keywords: Flood control; hydraulics; hydrology; numerical modeling; physical modeling

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-01-01

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