Rescue Greenleaf Lane
Brazos County, TX
The Problem: During heavy rain, water covers the County section of the Greenleaf roadway, leading to sinkholes caused by deteriorating culverts. Access is restricted after a storm until waters recede enough for temporary "repairs" to be completed.
The Goal: To restore safe and reliable roadway access to the 60+ residents who live behind the County culverts on Greenleaf Lane.
Why Promote This: The last four and a half years has included many hours of research and numerous interactions with the County as we tried to solve this "in committee." With no progress made, we are now publicly sharing what is happening to raise awareness and the urgency needed to get this issue resolved.
More Information: Read the FAQs below or browse the pages on this site for more information. If you are interested in helping, visit the help page.
County Maintenance Sign in the middle of flooded section of Greenleaf
Where is Greenleaf?
Greenleaf Lane lies in Brazos County 10 miles east of Bryan, TX. The private section of Greenleaf is connected to the County section of Greenleaf on the edge of the Rustic Oaks subdivision. The County section of Greenleaf runs through a low- lying area and contains a culvert crossing. Residents on the private section of the road must cross this public section in order to access their properties. See the pictures page here for an interactive map.
Who lives on Greenleaf?
Greenleaf contains 17 residences with a mixture of RVs, Mobile homes, pier and beam homes and slab homes. There are over 60 people living here, with aging parents who are being cared for by their children, a widow, single mothers, retirees and a number of families with young children. To find out more, see our about page.
Who is currently "repairing" the culvert crossing?
A neighbor uses a personal tractor to fill and pack the holes with road material which is purchased by the neighborhood.
Filling in the holes does not address the fact that the culverts are rusting on the bottom and sinking lower each year. As they sink, they restrict water passage, causing more flooding over the road, and eventually, they will collapse all the way.
How expensive can it be to just replace a couple of culverts?
A ballpark figure we received in 2022 was $700,000, with the thought that if box culverts could be used, the cost could be lower, but it could also be higher. This large amount is due to the fact that this crossing is a FEMA classified floodplain.
Recently, a local contractor had an engineer do a floodplain analysis. He found that there is an approximately 1400 acre drainage area upstream and that to accommodate the 100 year flow a 3 barrel 10'x7' reinforced concrete box culvert. A full survey would be needed in order to determine if this is the best structure for this location. The contractor said construction costs for the box culverts would be $175,000 to $250,000 and engineering costs could be from $15,000 to $50,000. If box culverts do not fit in the location then estimate for a bridge would be in the $600-$700,000 range.
Is the County being asked to grant an exception or give special treatment?
Although the County claims that by fixing the Greenleaf culverts they would be making an exception and setting a bad precedent, this is not the case.
The residents are fully aware of their responsibility to maintain the private section of Greenleaf and are only asking that the County maintain the dedicated, accepted and previously maintained County section of Greenleaf.
Instead of preferential treatment, this situation is the opposite. County road guidelines from the 1980s until now have had a number of engineering requirements for a road to become a County road. However, during this time, Greenleaf was not the only substandard gravel road to become a County road. There are numerous gravel roads with no records of acceptance that are currently being maintained. There are also roads which were specifically denied acceptance by the commissioners court which were also added to the County road system. While these roads continue to be maintained the County is treating Greenleaf different by abruptly ceasing maintenance without following the due process required to decommission a road.
So the request is one for equal treatment and application of the law. This would mean following the Texas transportation code that says there is a process the County must follow in order to be able to decommission a road.
Why is the County refusing to fix the crossing?
The County has offered up a number of objections to maintaining this County section of road over the last four and a half years. The most powerful objection was their position that the property line was in the middle of the creek crossing, thus preventing them from maintaining it.
Dr. Stacy Lyle who teaches surveying at Texas A&M University (see bio here) offered to examine the situation for us. He performed a survey of Greenleaf and a review of the relevant legal documents. His opinion based on what he found is that the iron pin is the property boundary and that the culverts are county assets (see full opinion here).
After presenting his findings to the County they proceeded to restate all of the objections that have been raised before. These objections and our responses to them are covered on the objections page here.
What alternatives are available to alleviate costs?
There are a number of grants available that could be applied for. However the majority of the grants we have looked into are for use on public land. Brazos County maintains their position that the culverts are on private property and stands ready to block any grant requests that are restricted to use on public land.
We put in a request for ARP funds which were allowed to be used for private purposes on the Federal level. However Brazos County found a State limit on private use of the funds, classified our project as private and blocked its consideration for funding.