Some local folks' law suit has been accepted by the U.S. Supreme Court. The suit contends TxDot created a "dam" by raising the interstate and building solid concrete barrier walls. The impeded drainage caused severe flooding during the heavy rains of Harvey and Imelda. I think they're right. During Harvey, a substantial amount of the barrier wall wasn't complete. The flooding was intense, but Hurricane Imelda increased the height of the flood water since more of the barrier wall was completed. Water levels were around 18 inches higher, which flooded homes that didn't flood during Hurricane Harvey.
When I started working construction, an old timer told me that when I decided to buy a home, I should look at how high the foundation is above the nearest road. Since a road can essentially be a dam, being above the top of the dam is necessary to keep flooding to a minimum. In the situation with the Interstate, areas that never flooded were inundated, and in spite of the intense rainfall, a contributing factor in the flood damage was the increased height of the structure of the interstate. Since the disaster, large sections of the solid barrier were replaced with a different barrier that allows water to flow through.
How will this turn out? I don't know, but it will add awareness of how infrastructure projects can cause harm. Engineers should be completely aware of the impacts of their designs, and the public should be compensated when the designs cause economic harm.
I have to add something I observed a few years ago.
When I was fairly new in construction, I had a conversation with an engineer about how they determined the sizes of drainage structures. He told me they designed the structures under the assumption the structures would be silted up. A round pipe would be designed to move enough water even if it was silted to the spring line, which is half full.
Decades later, I told a new engineer about what the old engineer told me years before. In a condescending way, he told me they only designed the drainage structures as though they were completely empty. It made me wonder if he really thought about what I said. Designing for the contingencies makes sense. Believing the conditions will always be perfect doesn't.