Alley Theatre Flooding Drama Came from an Alley This Time, Not the Tunnel

ALLEY THEATRE FLOODING DRAMA CAME FROM AN ALLEY THIS TIME, NOT THE TUNNEL Harvey flooding caused an estimated $15 million of damage to the Alley Theatre’s basement-level stage, lobby, and dressing rooms, but for the most part spared its recently renovated box-office entrance, main stage, and upper-level lobbies. The good news, relayed by theater managing director Dean Gladden in an email to members: Submarine doors in the tunnel prevented water flowing from the Theater District’s underground parking garage from entering the theater as it had during Tropical Storm Allison. But this time there was another way in: a fresh-air intake vent in the Alley’s drive-thru Alleyway driveway fronting Jones Plaza on Texas Ave. (pictured at left in the above photo): “Harvey’s waters crested so high that this in-take vent provided an opening that enabled the flood waters to enter the building unimpeded. The water was so powerful it knocked through a cement block wall and blew open locked doors. When the cement block wall collapsed, it broke a 2-foot fire line that started spewing water out at 150 gallons a minute. About 900,000 gallons of water would come from this source before it was turned off. The flood water from the bayou would account for 2.8 million gallons of water. The water would reach 10-feet high in the Neuhaus Theatre and lobby and 15-feet high in the basement level. The Alley Theatre below ground was completely flooded.” [Alley Theatre] Photo: Jason Hrncir  

5 Comment

  • daaaaaaaaaaaaamn (pardon the pun). That’s crazy

  • Time to start rebuilding 30 + feet ABOVE ground. Houston is a sinking swamp. Time to elevate the whole region & build a network of dykes & dams a la the Netherlands. Otherwise the Houston area will be underwater in about 20-30 years and Austin & San Antonio will be sea side cities !!!

  • What has occurred to me while looking at White Oak bayou post flood is that the silt and dirt left over by floodwaters has raised the legitimate flood plain elevation in several spots. The problem there is these are areas that are built to flood and the added volume of silt means the next flood will now have an equal volume spilling out into the streets. They need to dredge or dig these flood areas a bit deeper to offset the added silt from the past few years of heavy waters….

  • So, the flood doors worked but the (unguarded) air vent was the weak link in the defense, even if it was set up high.
    I think we just need to shrink-wrap everything right before every flood – to make sure every orifice is sealed off from possible floodwaters. That’s going to be the next great Shark Tank product idea: Building Shrinky-Dinks.

  • That’s crazy – so it has been outfitted with submarine doors, assuming they are crazy engineered for pressure and stress – but down the hall, they relied on an unreinforced cinder block wall, and left other existing penetrations like air vents… Seems like a short-sided flood control system. Why invest all that equipment and effort if you don’t try to seal off the whole thing? All it takes is one weak spot.