FM 1010

New Drone Shots Reveal Need for Better Flood Control in Liberty County

Since June, I’ve posted about problems in the Colony Ridge development in Liberty County. Among them: the washout of FM1010 where it crosses over Rocky Branch. Authorities have closed the busy road which provides access to Colony Ridge for three years, forcing tens of thousands of residents to seek alternate access routes, such as FM1485 and FM2090.

However, it’s difficult to see all the damage. So today I took a drone and captured some previously unseen details.

Colony Ridge drainage ditch leading to Rocky Branch contributed to washing out FM1010 at far end of ditch.

Lack of Functional Detention Capacity Likely Contributed to Washout

The damage is likely the result of inadequate, poorly engineered, or poorly maintained detention. Another contributing factor: a steep drop in elevation as water leaves the massive ditch (see above) in Colony Ridge and descends through a wooded area toward FM1010. That drop accelerated more water than should have been traveling down Rocky Branch, an East Fork San Jacinto tributary. As a result, floodwaters swept trees and other debris downstream.

One Thing Leads to Another

The debris:

  • Clogged culverts under the road…
  • Then, when the roadbed became a dam…
  • …Water churned through the roadbed next to the culverts…
  • …And deposited more “beaver dams” downstream…
  • …that, in turn, contributed to the flooding of surrounding homes.

Years of Neglect Still Ignored

Amazingly, no one in Liberty County corrected these problems after Harvey. As a result, many homes flooded again in 2019, during heavy downpours on May 7th and September 19th. The problems still have not been fixed. See the pictures below. I took them this afternoon.

Just yesterday, I had lunch with a couple who were considering moving to Liberty County because they were seeking a quieter lifestyle. I told them about this story. They are reconsidering.

FM1010 Washout at Rocky Branch has not been repaired for more than three years. Note flood debris clogged in culvert. Also note straps around logs!
“Beaver dam” just downstream from culverts is building up and up, contributing to additional flooding.

Not All Business is Good Business

Colony Ridge has grown into the world’s largest trailer park in less than a decade. It brought more than its fair share of problems:

A hard lesson for some people to learn is that not all business is good business. Lax enforcement of regulations allowed Colony Ridge to grow out of control. Now county commissioners have a nightmare on their hands, cannot fix their problems, and cannot enforce their own regulations.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 10/25/2020

1153 Days since Hurricane Harvey

The thoughts expressed in this post represent opinions on matters of public concern and safety. They are protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the Anti-SLAPP Statute of the Great State of Texas.