The recent heavy rains wreaked havoc on just about everything in Port Lavaca – from drainage to roads.
“The last couple of rain events have shown us that a weak link in our drainage system is the Corporation Ditch watershed,” Interim City Manager Jody Weaver reported to the Port Lavaca City Council during its July 12 meeting.
The rain fell hard for more than a week earlier this month, dropping more than 15 inches on the city and Calhoun County. Roads were closed due to rising waters, and residents were encouraged to stay off the streets as the rain continued to fall.
This left the city systems straining to take care of the high volume of water.
Corporation Ditch, a concrete-lined ditch between Main and Austin streets that flows under FM 1090 to the outfall in the bay near the loop off FM 1090, is a concern, said Weaver, particularly noting the areas of Half League Road and George Streets.
Residents expressed concerns about the recent drainage improvements done to George Street, and that the water didn’t drain away quickly. Weaver said additional capacity was built into the plans for the improvements, such as adding two 30-inch lines on both sides of the road serviced by a 36-inch line.
“Clearly, the issue is downstream where it all goes into a 54-inch storm sewer pipe that is also draining on Highway 35 by First National Bank,” said Weaver.
Another issue, she said, could be the 60-inch corrugated pipe with issues such as trapped debris, a rusted bottom, or a rusted piece of pipe that is preventing debris from flowing through the pipe.
She said they plan to inspect the pipe to assess the issue and come up with a proposal to replace it.
Also, an overflow pipe along State Highway 35 to handle conditions such as the county just went through is being considered. Weaver said she has spoken with the Texas Department of Transportation about the possibility.
The city had $450,000 budgeted for Corporation Ditch this year but kept it to use for a Community Development Block Grant application, which was denied.
“We can look closely at inspecting the lines and figure out the best use of that money,” she said.
She also noted that Lynn’s Bayou is of concern. City crews are working on picking up debris and trimming trees and growth that would hinder flow.
As heavy rains saturated the roads and covered them, making it difficult to drive, the potholes became larger as the downpours pummeled the weakened spots.
“Yes, heavy rains affect the roadway and are only part of the reason potholes are formed,” said Public Works Director William Shaffer. “Many factors play into pothole formation such as failing pavement, subgrade, and the overall age of the asphalt.”
Drainage has a role to play as well.
“Drainage is an issue we are actively working on, and the heavy rains are majorly contributing to the issue,” he said.
The rain also delays any work the city plans for its roads and adds to the cost.
“Rain can affect costs of projects in many ways, such as time delays and material costs,” Shaffer said.