Replacement of the old Union Pacific Bridge across the San Jacinto West Fork is nearing completion.
Less than a month ago, crews constructing the new railroad bridge still had to remove the supports for the old bridge. See below the old four-post steel-frame structures between the new cement supports.
By 2/13/2020, however, only one of the old supports remained. See photo below.
The result: the tracks were destroyed. UP had to reroute northbound rail traffic out of Houston for months as they literally built a new bridge around the old one.
The concrete supports for the new bridge are spaced much farther apart. Thus, they should allow trees to pass through in a flood and eliminate backwater effects.
Other Sign Job is Nearing Completion
Notice in the picture above that crews have already started removing the temporary bridge for cranes on the north side of the river.
All of this is good news from flood remediation and mitigation perspectives. It is yet one more sign that life is finally starting to return to normal after Harvey. The bridge should also help the community deal better with the next major storm.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 2/17/2020
902 Days since Hurricane Harvey
https://i0.wp.com/reduceflooding.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/20200213-RJR_7956.jpg?fit=1200%2C800&ssl=18001200adminadmin2020-02-16 19:46:332020-02-16 19:46:51Union Pacific Almost Done Removing Last Remnants of Old Railroad Bridge
Where once 83 acres of dense trees, natural wetlands, flood plains, and floodways stood, now we have a massive gash in the landscape. Below: several pictures of the new MoCo development called Brooklyn Trails, all taken on 12/27/2019.
Note how dense the forests were on this property before the developer cleared them in 2018. This map also shows the extent of floodplains and floodways wrapping around the property.
Another View of the Floodplains
This shows the proximity to two unnamed tributaries of Bens Branch.
Sandwiched Between Railroad Tracks and a Sewage Plant
Downstream areas experienced increased flooding this year after clearcutting.
Brooklyn LTD clearcut this land in 2018. Was there a link to the unusual downstream flooding on Bens Branch experienced in 2019?
They intend to put 207 single-family residential homes on roughly 40 acres, along with streets with lofty names, such as Porter Mountain Drive and Cascade Mountain Drive.
A retention pond will go in the floodplain and, it appears, the floodway on the southern section of land. Plans for the rest of the southern section have not yet been released.
Convoluted Trail of Ownership
Three partners formed Brooklyn Trails, LTD in the months following Hurricane Harvey. The Texas Secretary of State shows it to be one of almost two dozen real estate ventures owned by a company called Camcorp Management Inc.
The name Jenni Trapolino at 10410 Windermere Lakes Blvd. Houston, TX 77065 USA, appears as president, Vice President, registered agent, assistant manager, member, director or general partner of 23 of those. One is Benchmark Acquisitions, the company that bought the land from Hendricks and then resold it to Brooklyn Trails.
The names Mark Tolleffsrud and Scott Bauer show as other VPs of Campcorp Management at the same address. However, neither of those names is affiliated with any other business entities in Texas, according to the Texas SOS Direct database.
Ms. Trapolino must be quite the real-estate mogul, even though she reportedly is trying to retire. Searching on variations of her name yields additional companies and partnerships. Under Jennie or Jennie R Trapolino, Texas SoS Direct shows 29 related entities. Her name also shows up as VP of land acquisition for Legend Homes and Academy Development. Legend Homes has the same corporate address as most of Ms. Trapolino’s other interests on Windermere Lakes.
Interesting Timing: One Week After Harvey
Interesting that Benchmark Acquisitions bought the property from Hendricks less than a week after Harvey.
Two weeks later, Jennie Trapolino filed a certificate of formation for the Brooklyn Trails limited partnership, listing Lauren C. Sullivan, the President of Legend Homes as the registered agent.
Were they looking to pick up a bargain on flooded property? If so…
Price Per Acre Five Times Higher than Woodridge
Compared to the nearby Perry Homes’ Woodridge Village property, Brooklyn Trails overpaid. Perry paid roughly a million dollars for 268 acres. That’s roughly $3,731 per acre.
Assuming the MCAD market value shown above reflects the purchase price, Trapolino paid $19,771 per acre.
That’s 5X more! Granted you’re closer to US59. But you still have to contend with floodways, floodplains, railroad horns, a sewage treatment plant, and homes built over soggy wetlands. Hope springs eternal. I guess if you’re in the development business, pessimism just isn’t in your gene pool.
Timing of Detention Vs. Flooding
In Woodridge Village, Perry Homes clearcut the entire site before starting excavation work on development. That proved to be a costly miscalculation when Elm Grove Flooded twice this year.
Likewise, Brooklyn Trails clearcut this property in 2018, but only recently started dirt work. A neighbor who wishes to remain anonymous shared pictures showing that the detention pond still was not complete a year later. Could there be a relationship between that and downstream flooding along Northpark Drive and Ben’s Branch in May and September? The photo below was taken AFTER Imelda.
Clearcutting all the land before installing detention may have contributed to flooding in both locations. This is a practice that Montgomery County should prohibit.
There’s much more to talk about with this development. For instance, as with Woodridge Village, Brooklyn Trails appeared to be playing a game of beat the clock. By filing for permits when they did, they ensured that the detention pond did not have to comply with the new NOAA Atlas 14 rainfall norms. And as with Woodridge Village, that means any detention built here will fall 40% short of the real need. That’s something else MoCo should prohibit. It’s like licensing planes that you know will crash.
Stay tuned in coming weeks for more on Brooklyn Trails.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 12/28/2019
851 Days after Hurricane Harvey and 100 after Imelda
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.
https://i0.wp.com/reduceflooding.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/20191227-RJR_6230.jpg?fit=1200%2C800&ssl=18001200adminadmin2019-12-28 20:55:112019-12-28 23:53:54Another Treeless MoCo Development: 83 Acres of Idyllic Floodplains, Floodway and Wetlands Sandwiched between Railroad Tracks and a Sewage Treatment Plant
If you have children or grandchildren that love trains, cranes and building things, you’ll want to share this post with them. It’s a real life example of a massive (re)construction project in the middle of difficult circumstances and a testament to the kind of brainpower and brawn that built this country.
A New Bridge Rises from the Old
These photos taken on Monday of this week (11.4.2019) illustrate how a new Union Pacific bridge is rising in the same place as the old one. With wider spans, the bridge will now also require different construction.
Problems with Old Union Pacific Bridge
Back in 2017, the supports of the old bridge caught many trees swept downstream by Harvey. As you can see in these photos, the old bridge had two or three times the number of supports. David Seitzinger, a Kingwood resident, identified the supports and the trees they caught as a contributor to flooding in this analysis of water levels, flows and timing during Hurricane Harvey.
The progress of this construction is another encouraging sign of recovery from Harvey.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 11/6/2019 with thanks to the Union Pacific Railroad
799 Days after Hurricane Harvey
https://i0.wp.com/reduceflooding.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/RJR_4143.jpg?fit=1500%2C1000&ssl=110001500adminadmin2019-11-06 16:41:552019-11-06 16:42:08New Union Pacific Railroad Bridge over San Jacinto Will Have Wider Spans