Open storm drains covered after ABC-13 investigation

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- For weeks and likely months, those living and working near Highway 59 and McGowen in Houston have walked purposely around two open storm drains.

They say they've complained repeatedly to city officials, claiming the uncovered drains are dangerous to pedestrians and drivers and a liability to the city.

"As much as we pay in taxes in this city, pretty inexcusable," said Tommy Scroggins, owner of Scroggins Machine Inc. which sits just adjacent to the sidewalk.

City officials were not immediately able to tell Eyewitness News if they had actually received those complaints. What they did tell us is that the holes, more accurately square openings are 27" by 27" and normally would be covered by a metal storm drain grate.

About three hours after our call to ask the City of Houston Public Works Department about the issue, city workers arrived to diagnose and begin to fix the problem.

They started by surrounding the area with no less than two dozen cones, "caution" tape and barricades. A supervisor on the scene would tell us only that it will take at least two hours to find and install the storm drain grates they need to make this sidewalk safe again. At 2:30pm, crews arrived with plates to cover the openings.

A City of Houston Public Works spokesperson said they had only a single complaint about the situation prior to our calls today. They have not yet said when that complaint was filed.

Alvin Wright, public information officer of the Public Works and Engineering Department, also told Eyewitness News the drains and their maintenance are the responsibility of the owner of the property which sits adjacent to the public sidewalk.

However, Wright says the city is fixing it anyway because "public safety is our responsibility." null
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