The Hood County Commissioners Court has agreed to enlist a “secondary engineer” to do a feasibility study in an effort to find a solution to dangerous flooding that occurs at the low water crossing in Stroud Creek Estates on Lipan Highway.
The flooding on Vegas Road, the subdivision’s only entrance and exit, landlocks those who live there and happens whenever there is heavy rain.
The problem has been featured on a Metroplex news station and video footage of an SUV being swept off Vegas Road into rushing high water can be found online. The two adults in that SUV were able to escape the vehicle.
Eight years ago, a woman started a petition on change.org for the problem to be addressed, netting 141 supporters.
“This is a life safety issue,” Kevin Andrews, who lives in Lipan and is commissioner for Precinct 1, said at the Tuesday, April 25 regular meeting of the Commissioners Court. “There is 19 square miles of runoff that end up in a 100-feet-wide ravine right here that the residents of Stroud Creek Estates have to drive through, in and out, to get to their homes.”
He noted the danger that the situation presents for any resident who experiences a medical emergency during a storm when the road is impassable and medical helicopters can’t safely fly.
Development Director Clint Head said he was told that the cost to build a bridge at that location would be about $2 million.
When Precinct 2 Commissioner Nannette Samuelson commented that road needs are covered through federal American Rescue Plan Act dollars, Head stated that a cost-benefit analysis would have to be done to justify spending $2 million for a bridge that benefits only a small number of people.
Fire Marshal Jeff Young weighed in, telling the county judge and commissioners that every time there is heavy rainfall, “we’re down there fishing people in cars” out of the water.
He posed the possibility of an entrance/exit that is used only for emergencies and said that nearby railroad tracks pose challenges for creating another access point.
“The fight there is going to be with the railroad,” he said.
Young said the railroad company indicated a willingness to consider it but that a different railroad crossing might have to be sacrificed.
“The more crossings they have, of course the more liability they have,” he stated.
The court’s vote to hire a secondary engineer in hopes of a solution that won’t involve a costly bridge was unanimous.