top of page

Restore or Rebuild: Structural Damages After a Natural Disaster

As cities begin to estimate the total destruction to their communities, common structural damages identified after a natural disaster include roadways, water plants, emergency power systems, bridges and storm sewer systems. We have assisted in the reconstruction of over 250 roads including curbed, urban, rural and open ditch, with erosion controls added such as rock rubble and concrete slope paving. In towns such as Hemphill, Texas, we were able to design and construct a new replacement water tank after the destruction of their original 500,000 gallon ground storage tank as seen to the right. Water infrastructure repair has also included the reconstruction or expansion of wastewater treatment plants and lift station replacement. Damage to emergency power systems have required us to provide planning, design, bidding and construction services for generator systems. Generator sizes have ranged from 15 kW to 1,100 kW, with the use of varying fuel sources and both automatic and manual electrical transfer switching.

After a hurricane, however, our firm has found that two of the most common structural damages that communities face are bridges and storm sewer systems. Unfortunately, many cities do not have sufficient storm sewer systems to filtrate the abundance of water that a natural disaster can produce. Most systems are prepared for several days of heavy rain but do not have the capacity to drain the amount of water produced by a hurricane. Such systems can range from surface runoff systems to more complex systems that can include grate inlets or curb inlets.

Surface runoff systems allow streets to guide the flow of water to a designated location - typically a natural body of water - and service areas that receive little rainfall. For cities that receive more frequent/heavier rainfall or suffer from coastal storms, grate inlets or curb inlets are favored. With different inlets, water is transported underground through pipes preventing streets and properties from being flooded by the water that is unable to be absorbed by the ground. However, even with a more complex storm sewer structure, sizing requirements vary by location. The USDA sets national requirements for storm sewers and in cities that have a greater likelihood to experience severe weather conditions, storm surge events are required to be analyzed.

Over the years, Goodwin-Lasiter-Strong has been proud to provide professional engineering services municipalities, aiding in the recovery of their communities after natural disasters unleashed havoc on their infrastructures such as in Ike and Rita. As a professional engineering firm, we assist with rebuilding and restoring community structures after such disasters. Although we cannot replace all that was lost, we look forward to designing better above ground structures and underground utility systems to prevent further pain points for municipalities in the future.


The City of Buffalo sustained structural damages due to the 2015 Texas flood and received Community Development Block Grant - Disaster Recovery funds administered by the Texas General Land Office (GLO). Prior to the floods of 2015, the City's storm sewer system was in poor condition and was unable to contain and regulate the water from the heavy rainfall. Due to the inadequate drainage system, rainwater remained above the roadways. GLS was selected to provide both surveying and engineering services for above ground features as well as underground utilities. The overall focus of the project was to provide a sufficient drainage system for the city, as well as repair roadways ruined by the flood. The picture shown below was taken prior to construction.

Services Provided by GLS

  • Preliminary Engineering, Investigations and Drawings

  • Design Survey

  • Topographic and Utility Mapping

  • Drainage Design

  • Utility Relocation Design

  • Plan Drawings and Bid Documents

  • Bid and Award Support

The picture shown to the left was taken during the construction phase of the project.


During the Presidentially declared flooding in 2015, both the CR 201 Bridge and CR 202 Bridge were engulfed with water and weakened. The original bridges were one lane with inadequate guardrails. The low elevation of the bridges allowed for frequent flooding which prevented citizens from being able to get to and from Grimes County. GLS was selected to provide professional engineering services and completely replace both bridges. The picture shown were taken upon completion of the bridges.

Services Provided by GLS

  • Preliminary Engineering, Geotechnical Investigations and Drawings

  • Design Details and Specs

  • Obtain Required Permits

  • Design Survey

  • Topographic and Boundary Survey

  • Bid and Award Support

  • Contract Management and Construction Oversight

Recent Posts
Search By Tags
bottom of page