After Hurricane Harvey made landfall on Aug. 25, 2017, and devastated cities along the Texas coastline, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) quickly moved to mitigate extreme flooding as the storm moved north toward Houston and Beaumont, TxDOT said in Oct. 11, 2017, press release. With waters rising, TxDOT crews from several area districts received and deployed AquaDams, which allowed for the delivery of aid to victims who otherwise would have been cut off due to flooding.
AquaDam, created by Aqua Dam, Inc., is a large mobile dam that can be installed to block off up to 30 inches of floodwater, either rising or already in place. This water-filled geotextile tube uses existing floodwater to create a barrier, effectively taking the problem and turning it into a solution. This was TxDOT’s first use of the AquaDam technology.
“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.”
The department said, TxDOT crews installed the first sections in three locations in Houston on Aug. 29, 2017. 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 on conditions at each location.
Purchased from Louisiana, the AquaDam equipment was delivered directly to each site for immediate use and proved to be highly effective, TxDOT said. One installation—measuring just under a mile long—opened up approximately 15 miles of I-10. TxDOT plans to continue using AquaDam technology in the future.
“The more we learn about using it, the more we realize it’s definitely a good product,” Taylor said.