Construction causes serious flooding concerns in Waller Co. for residents

Brooke Taylor Image
Sunday, August 21, 2022
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Some residents said they fear the flooding may continue even after construction wraps up because of how the new road has been designed.

WALLER COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- Construction is causing some serious flooding concerns in Waller County for residents who said they are trapped in their subdivision or forced to drive in dangerous conditions when it rains.

On Friday, the high waters were so bad on Clay Road in the Lakehouse subdivision that Katy ISD would not allow school buses to drop off students in the area, forcing parents to pick up their kids.

An email from the district read in part,

"This message is to inform you that buses transporting students from Katy High School, Haskett Junior High, and Robertson Elementary to the Lakehouse subdivision are being rerouted to Raines Academy due to high water conditions in the area. Parents are asked to pick up their students at Raines Academy by 6:00 p.m."

Residents said they had never had flooding issues before the construction began. The county engineer told ABC13 that they are widening the road into a four-way lane and trying their best to finish construction while looking for ways to improve drainage.

The subdivision only has two entrances, which are both on Clay Road, so residents can't get in and out any other way.

"It was like one big lake all the way down," Darren Mourre, a resident, said. "You could not see the road."

Drivers who had to get home were forced to navigate the murky waters.

"He (her husband) had to walk next to the truck because the whole area was flooded, and the barrels were floating, so you couldn't tell where the road was," Melanie Gillis said.

The flooding is not just causing a headache for residents but major concerns.

"You have no way for emergency vehicles to get in," Mourre said. "So, let's say, for example, someone is having a medical scenario, the ambulances couldn't have got in."

"I'm worried the police can't get in or emergency fire," Philip Debaker, another resident, voiced. "It's just very concerning."

Gillis and her husband have a baby on the way.

"My wife is 38 and a half weeks pregnant. She can go into labor right now as we're talking. If we can't get in, we can't get out. That's problematic," Gillis' husband said.

Some fear the issue may continue even after construction wraps up because of how the new road has been designed.

"They have taken the road and lowered it down 2 to 3 feet where it previously was?" Mourre said. "Also, what does that do? The water piles up."

ABC13 brought the concerns to the Waller County Sheriff's Office. Sheriff Troy Guidry said they have high water rescue vehicles and are prepared to respond to the area. Residents, though, can't help but worry about the next rainfall.

"We only had three plus inches of rain, and we got this much water," Debaker said.

While the Sheriff did not have concerns, Tim Gibson, the director of Waller-Harris Emergency Services for the district, certainly did.

Gibson said their crews and staff were kept advised Friday. Still, without a substantial effort to mitigate the drainage, he said the flooding issues will continue until construction gets further along. Gibson said they are prepared, but potential flooding would impact the timeliness of that response.

Gibson added that he is reaching out to the county commissioners to look into the issue for residents.

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