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Rain triggers roadway troubles FM 1385


Rain triggers roadway troubles FM 1385

By Abigail Allen

Editor

Months of drought followed by a deluge of rain led to extensive damage on Friendship Road east of FM 1385 on Oct. 26.


That damage caused at least one person to crash her vehicle into the pit that formed in the road.


"She drove about right here, and the car came and took the whole side [of the road] down," said Michael Eoff, the foreman of the project with the Denton County Department of Transportation and Engineering.


Eoff explained that the trouble started long before the rainstorm.


"It happens over years, and there's no telling how long that's been in here," he said of the gnarled pipe. "With the water standing in it and that going back and forth, it will start rusting."


Rain triggers roadway troubles FM 1385

That causes structural issues with the metal over time.


When that is paired with cracks caused by drought and then rainwater expanding those, the result is a collapse.


"It's the dry season we've had," Eoff said. "A lot of people don't understand that. It's just like in your yard, you've got cracks like that. What happens is it opens with dry weather. When rain hits, it fills that thing in. What it does is it opens it up even more.


When it rains again, it collapses and everything just falls down inside there."


The signs of such damage happen under the road base, he added, which makes it hard to diagnose until someone comes across the problem.


He estimated that the typical lifespan of a culvert like the new one installed is roughly 15 years, but that depends on the weather conditions that occur in that time.


When the county received the call on the morning of Oct. 26, the team went into action, closing off the county road before removing the remaining asphalt and road base above the crumbling culvert to prepare the space for the new 48-inch diameter metal pipe.


Rain triggers roadway troubles FM 1385

The crew completed the process within the workday, including asphalt to seal off the road.


"I've got it coming right now, because we've got more rain coming," Eoff said. "If we don't do that, nothing will hold it and it will just wash away."


That asphalt was laid over a rock base and the new culvert, which upon placement had water flowing through it as designed after a few adjustments.


"That's why we were picking it up and putting it back," he said.


When there's an urgent concern with county infrastructure, Eoff said, residents can contact the department at 940-349-3410.

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