HOUSTON - Some commuters from Houston's south side found their Tuesday morning drive blocked by high-water, and some were stranded as State Highway 288 was flooded by torrential rain from Tropical Storm Beta. While the highway is undergoing massive improvements, they were unable to manage the high water.
The work to improve the South Freeway started in 2016, at a cost of nearly a billion dollars.
After Beta moved through, some wondered why they were still dealing with flooding.
TxDOT says there's a simple explanation.
Stormwater is designed to drain from 288 to nearby Brays Bayou, on its way to the Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Unfortunately, as the storm-surge pushed into the land, Brays Bayou was unable to drain as quickly and SH288's stormwater was held-up, as well.
While storm-management improvements have been incorporated into the SH288, TxDOT says there are limits to managing that much water when it comes down so fast.
"There have been times when it has not flooded when it would have," says Raynese Edwards with Blueridge Transportation Group. "In this situation, with the constant rain coming, it didn't drain. Because it couldn't. It wasn't that it didn't drain; it had nowhere to go."
TxDOT says it will reopen SH288 when the high-water spots recede. Meantime, the reconstruction project that is a year behind schedule, should be finished in early Fall.