In Case You've Wondered

My blog is where my wandering thoughts are interspersed with stuff I made up. So, if while reading you find yourself confused about the context, don't feel alone. I get confused, too.

If you're here for the stories, I started another blog:

One other thing: sometimes I write words you refuse to use in front of children, or polite company, unless you have a flat tire, or hit your thumb with a hammer.

I don't use them to offend; I use them to embellish.

Sunday, October 1, 2023

Something to Look For

 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.


  1. Keep in mind, too many built-ins, and nothing is affordable.

    1. We have a local community that grew, home prices went to the ceiling, drainage sucks, and people are complaining after every hard rain. I understand their concerns, but don't understand why they didn't do a little research before they spent so much money on what was once considered a bad place to build a home.

  2. Some people learn by listening. Most have to pee on the electric fence to learn. Lawsuits are the way to teach stupid and incompetent people they need to learn. Sad it has to be that way.

    1. It wouldn't really bother much, except the same people want to use tax dollars to remedy their ignorance.