Last Monday, Gabriel Haddad, the Romerica developer who wants to put up 25-50 story high rises and 5,000 condos near the floodway of the West Fork, told a packed audience at the Kingwood Community Center that he would construct his buildings on stilts.
Of course, he also wants to put 150,000 cubic yards of fill in wetlands and streams which is why he’s applying for the Army Corps permit. But put that aside for the moment.
Catching Debris and Creating Backwater
Stilts may be the best answer when building near floodways. They can reduce the net impact on flooding compared to fill. However, they still have their drawbacks…as these pictures show. For instance, stilts, stairs and anything below a building will catch debris being washed downstream and back water up.
Evacuation Routes Flooded
The next three pictures show one of the planned evacuation routes, Hamblen Road. As you can see, connecting Woodland Hills to Hamblen might help with normal traffic, but it would not help at all during a flood.
“The water is actually even deeper than it appears because those street lights are on a hill that lines the side of Hamblen,” said Melissa Balcom, who took these photos. “The water is so deep you can’t even see the white brick fence that lines Hamblen. It completely covers it! That’s one of the reasons why making Hamblen a cut through street is so ridiculous.”
Horror Movie in the Making
When I asked Mr. Haddad how he planned to evacuate 15,000 people by boat if there were ever another midnight release from the Conroe dam without warning, he said that people could shelter in place.
Imagine being in a high rise…in August, when the water comes up, the power goes out, the toilets overflow, the AC fails, the humidity hits 99%, and you can’t open the windows. That may be a Navy Seal’s idea of luxury living, but not mine. I’ll pass, thank you!
Posted by Bob Rehak on 3/24/2019
572 Days since Hurricane Harvey