ABC13 gets help for neighbors who blame flooding on road construction

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- The Jesus Way Baptist Church has four locks on the front door, but nothing could keep flood water from seeping in Wednesday morning. By the time it was done rising, Deacon Larry Cannon told us his sanctuary had six inches of water inside.

"It's in again," Cannon told ABC13's Ted Oberg as his shoes sloshed against soggy carpet, "and this is new carpet."

In October 2015, Cannon says the church spent $106,000 to repair flood damage.

A block away, Von Harris angrily stared at the roadside ditch bordering his home. Harris spent yesterday renting and manning massive pumps to rid the ditches of water flowing down Mesa Drive at the intersection of E. Mount Houston Road.

The pumps sucked water up and over Mesa Drive for hours, but couldn't keep six inches of water from his home either.

Harris blames the two lane extension of Mason Drive for the flooding. Both he and Cannon say their properties never flooded before it was built and did away with culverts that carried water to nearby Greens Bayou.

"It stays here and backs up in my land... in my living room every time it rains hard," Harris said. "We've been begging Harris County for the last year to fix this."

Hours after ABC13 called Harris County Precinct 1 (which maintains the road), staffers for newly sworn-in Commissioner Rodney Ellis assured ABC13 a new culvert would be installed where neighbors say the old ones were. Ellis staffers say their goal is to get it finished by next Wednesday. The only delay is to wait for gas and utility lines to be marked for safety.

It was great news for Deacon Cannon.
"I'll be looking forward to that. Thank you," he told ABC13. "It took some pressure, they haven't done it in 18 months."

The road was built in the last two years. The Harris County Engineer's office told us in a written statement that the road was professionally designed to run water away from the road and refers to a culvert hundreds of yards from the intersection that should help. The engineer blames the rain - not the design for the flooding.

"We've been here since '93 and it never flooded until they built that road," Deacon Cannon pointedly told us.

When ABC13 toured the area the culvert engineers referred to wasn't helping. In fact, it was still draining water towards the flooded homes. Additionally the statement errantly refers to the road as a driveway.

Full statement:

"The driveway for Cherry Demolition entering E Mount Houston Rd near Mesa Road was designed by the professional engineering firm of Jones and Carter. The drainage east and west of the E Mount Houston at Mesa location is the high point along E Mount Houston Rd. Based on the design, any water flowing in the area should flow away from the driveway. Additionally, there is an equalizer culvert north of the intersection along the extended Cherry Demolition driveway. This culvert allows water to flow east-west and west-east should there be a need. In a three hour period, Harris County Flood Control District rain gauges show that the area received nearly four and half inches of rain." - Dimetra Hamilton, Harris County Engineer's Office
Copyright © 2019 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.