Transportation

County Judges Ask Lawmakers For Help In Flood-Proofing Local Roads

After the damage caused by Harvey in southeast Texas, state lawmakers are discussing what to do to prepare for future storms

The Texas House Transportation Committee heard from county judges about the impact to local roads during Harvey’s floods.

In testimony before the Texas House Transportation Committee, Fort Bend County Judge Bob Hebert said they had so much flooding during Harvey they were down to only one evacuation route.

“And this took the circuitous route along 59 to El Campo,” explained Hebert. “And that was a dangerous route because we were sending them into the storm damage area.”

It is not just an issue of getting people out of disaster zones. Harris County Judge Ed Emmett is calling for some roads to be elevated and flood-proofed, not just for evacuations but also to keep freight moving cross-country.

“And they will cost billions of dollars, no question about it,” said Emmett, who added Harvey wasn’t just a Texas event. “It was a national event when you shut down all that traffic in southeast Texas.”

County judges told the committee there needs to be a focus on improving secondary roads, the ones that lead to major highways.

El Paso representative Joe Pickett (Democrat) said they will consider those needs as they start work on a package of bills for next year’s session.

“I’m hoping that the leadership kind of finds a way to coordinate what all the committees are doing so that we don’t do what your fear was, that we just throw money at some of the stuff and waste it,” said Pickett.

The committee also heard from Brazoria County Judge Matt Sebesta and Orange County Judge Brint Carlton.

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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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