The $73.2 million federal levee project to help protect Wharton from Colorado River flooding will require right-of-way acquisition and some relocations.

Slightly more than 30 property owners could be affected, most agricultural rather than residential lots, although design is still in the preliminary stages.

HDR was hired as the acquisition and relocation firm in May following Wharton City Council approval.

A Phase I design update and review, and Baughman Slough project design work is anticipated this summer with relocations and other acquisitions taking place in the fall for those who live on Baughman Slough.

According to an HDR timeline, in the fall of 2020 Colorado River Phase I construction will begin and last 16 months. In the spring of 2021, Baughman Slough construction will begin lasting 18 months and Colorado River Phase II construction also estimated at 18 months.

Regional Real Estate Services Lead Elaine Verver said there would be emphasis placed on lessening the emotional and financial impact of displacement on citizens.

Meanwhile county officials are requesting an update on plans for drainage along the waterways.

“I requested from the city that Commissioner (Rusty) Graves and myself be brought up to date as to what is to be expected out of the levee project and what is projected to happen downstream of the city limits out in the rural areas,” Precinct 1 Commissioner Richard Zahn said. “As far as any future meetings, the county is requesting representation to be in attendance.”

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