Mobile dams used to open flooded roads in Texas after Harvey

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Updated Oct 20, 2017
An AquaDam used on a Louisiana levee in 2011. Photo by AquaDamAn AquaDam used on a Louisiana levee in 2011. Photo by AquaDam

The Texas Department of Transportation has high praise for technology it used to stem road flooding from Hurricane Harvey.

TxDOT says the AquaDam, a mobile dam that can be installed to block up to 30 inches of floodwater, kept some flood victims from being cut off from aid. The mobile dam is basically a large water-filled tube that uses floodwater to create a barrier.

“If the water is stagnant, you can install the AquaDam with a crew of 12,” said Cory Taylor, TxDOT’s Beaumont District director of maintenance. “If the water is moving, installation can be more challenging and require as many as 40 crew members.”

TxDOT crews installed the first sections in three locations in Houston on August 29. A day later, the Beaumont District received two installations on Interstate 10 — one on the Harris County line in Mont Belvieu and another on the Texas-Louisiana state line in Orange. Installation time ranged from four to eight hours, depending conditions at each location, according to TxDOT.

“One installation – measuring just under a mile long – opened up approximately 15 miles of I-10,” TxDOT says.