Local

Collapsing ditch continues to grow

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

With rain in our area, there are a lot of nervous neighbors in one part of Fort Bend County. That's because a ditch along River Forest Drive continues to grow for a second day.

There are houses in the area and a bridge. The River Forest subdivision is north of Rosenberg and Richmond. And just like the rest of Fort Bend County, it got hammered by Friday night's heavy rain. Now the neighbors are watching the collapsing Briscoe drainage ditch carefully.

In the River Forest subdivision, the homes are big and custom made. The yards are expansive and filled with trees. But the usual quiet is shattered by heavy trucks carrying dirt to a dramatically collapsing Briscoe drainage ditch.

Resident Amy Sopchak said, "That's our house over there, so I'm just hoping it stays on that side of the bridge."

It all started Friday night when heavy rains swept away something called a drop structure.

Fort Bend County Commissioner Richard Morrison explained, "It's a concrete structure with a concrete pipe that helps the water slow down when it drops off into the river."

Morrison says when the rain swept the drop structure away, all the rushing water ate away at the banks of the ditch. Now county workers are working to stabilize the ditch, first with concrete chunks and now with dirt. The whole thing is a spectacle in a normally quiet neighborhood.

"This is just crazy," said neighbor Scott Cruickshank. "I mean, it looks like this one minute, looks like that the next."

The good news is that the collapse hasn't come close to any homes, nor has it come close to the bridge, and that it appears to have stopped. But it's still a dangerous situation -- one county leaders hope people will leave alone.

"The sides are steep, someone goes in to peer over it, the ground is saturated -- it could cave off or slough down in," Morrison said.

This could take six weeks to fix and cost the county less than $100,000. It may involve temporarily detouring the water through another ditch to get it done.

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richmond, local, adela uchida
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