Tag Archive for: Porter Dam

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

718 Days since Hurricane Harvey

Porter Dam Rapidly Becoming Porter Trench

Two days ago, I posted about the “Porter Dam.” The dam was actually an undersized culvert under a road to nowhere that backed water up for blocks. After the December 7th rain, dozens of properties flooded. Yesterday, demolition of the offending culvert started. The demo gave residents an early Christmas present. I went by there again this morning to check the progress. I saw this.

As of Saturday, Dec. 22, 2018, at 10:15 a.m., the Porter Dam had turned into the Porter Trench. Excavation of the undersized culvert continued.

Hopefully, their removal, will eliminate flooding like you see below after the 4.5 inch rain we had on Dec. 7.

Flooding on East Knox in Porter near Loop 494 after a 4.5″ rain on December 7th. Caused by an undersized culvert that backed water up for blocks. Photo courtesy of Mike Eberle.

Mike Eberle of Mike’s Hobby Shop on East Knox sent me these pics at the end of Saturday. They show the progress that the crew made during the day.

Downstream trench at end of Saturday. Photo courtesy of Mike Eberle.
Mid-trench at end of Saturday.  Photo courtesy of Mike Eberle.
Upstream end of trench at end of day on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Mike Eberle.

It’s unclear at this time whether workers will install a larger culvert or just eliminate the Road to Nowhere altogether. I will continue to follow the story.

Street flooding, such as this blockage caused, can devastate homes and businesses every bit as much as river flooding. It only takes an inch of water to cause months worth of repair work.

This morning I learned of several more instances of tragic street flooding in Porter near Sorters Road. Apparently a broken or collapsed storm drain flooded the homes below repeatedly. Montgomery County has not fixed the drain despite repeated pleas from homeowners.

One home owner, a retired Marine, flooded five times in five years. His neighbors, a middle aged couple, flooded ten times in ten years.

Street flooding caused by another bad culvert. Photo courtesy of Tammy Gunnels.

The couple invested more than a quarter million dollars trying to flood-proof their home and virtually wiped out their life savings.

Let’s hope Montgomery County fixes that drain soon…as fast as TexDoT jumped on the Porter Dam problem.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 12/22, 2018

480 Days since Hurricane Harvey