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Cross Your Fingers: Porter Dam Replaced by Two Large Culverts Under Road to Nowhere

Last year, shortly before Christmas, I reported on flooding between Loop 494 and US59 related to an undersized culvert, nicknamed the Porter Dam.

A developer mysteriously installed two small culverts with grates in the ditch that runs on the west side of Loop 494. I say “mysteriously” because there was no apparent reason to install them. The developer also built a road over the culverts. But the road led nowhere. So there was basically no need for the project.

Picture taken last December. The Porter Dam, an undersized culvert and an unnecessary road, backed water up for blocks.
The offending culvert and grate restricted flow in the ditch. Also from last December.
The Road to Nowhere crosses a ditch only to end at a detention pond. Photo taken December, 2018.

Residents and businesses speculated that the real purpose of this project was to slow the flow of water from the north to speed up the flow of water from the south where a large shopping center and an apartment complex exist. While the small culvert worked wonders for those developments, it backed water up into businesses and homes for several blocks to the north.

As a result, Mike Eberle, owner of Mike’s Hobby Shop, Lakeside Plumbing and the Gulf Coast Raceway got an unwelcome early Christmas present last year. Here’s what the situation looked like before Christmas, 2018. Not good for a hobby shop!

Photo by Mike Eberle, December 2018.
Photo by Mike Eberle, December 2018.
Photo by Mike Eberle, December 2018.
After the flood, Eberle complained to TxDot. Within days, a backhoe began lowering the road over the culvert. By lowering the road, the developer hoped to increase the conveyance of the ditch without removing the culvert.

First Attempt at Porter Dam Mitigation Failed

However, that attempt at mitigating the Porter Dam failed. Within five months, the same area flooded again.

Last week, a reader, Dan Monks, sent me this photo. It looks like the developer is trying a third time with bigger culverts AND a lower road.

Bigger culverts now installed under the Road to Nowhere. Photo 8/14/2019, courtesy of Dan Monks.

Let’s hope this attempt works better than the last and gets things back to normal. These culverts appear to match the size of those farther up the ditch.

Please Help Shine a Public Light on Similar Problems

Hundreds of people, businesses and even a church were damaged by this thoughtless, careless project.

If you see situations that contribute to flooding, please send photos via the submissions page of this web site. By shining a public light on problems, we can encourage people to fix them.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 8/17/2019 with photos courtesy of Dan Monks and Mike Eberle

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