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Potholes causing big problems for residents in Plum Grove

HOUSTON – The plague of potholes in Plum Grove has worn thin on drivers and residents in the area.

“It takes a toll on the suspension of the vehicle,” said Juan Santana, a Plum Grove resident.

People said the potholes located on Plum Grove Road have been an issue since Hurricane Harvey.

"You have to pick your way through the roads through the potholes essentially, and so there (are) people swerving to the other side of the road to go around a pothole, which is understandable cause it tears up your car,” said resident Carly Sager.

Danny Dortch said he’s lived in the area for about five years and does his best to avoid the area. He believes the dangerous road conditions are being made worse by the type of vehicles that use the road.

“The big trucks are going to wear your roads out, take a heavy loaded truck down a small country road and it’s going to eventually put potholes in the road,” Dortch said.

Santana said people who live in the area have contacted the city and county about the issue but can’t seem to get a clear answer as to who’s responsible. We reached out to the Mayor of Plum Grove Lee Ann Penton-Walker about this issue.

Penton-Walker claims she’s tried to have the issue fixed but has been ignored by Precinct 3 Commissioner James Reaves.

KPRC 2 obtained this statement from Penton-Walker:

"The city has a signed Inter-Local Agreement with Liberty County to share the financial responsibilities of maintaining our roads. We have requested material for the roads on dozens of occasions since 2017 as we, the city, will provide the equipment and labor. Starting in 2011 till present, the Liberty County Commissioner Court approved over 35 square miles of new subdivisions in Precinct 3.

"Our council fought these developments as our city roads would be utilized and had been built to service 200 families, not support the commercial vehicles wear and tear on our city’s roads. The commissioners laughed at this in February 2015 and said they would cross the bridge of repairing the city’s roads if they were actually torn up. They have gone out of their way to not fix the roads and continually make excuses as to why they won’t honor the inter-local agreement.

"You can imagine the conditions of our roads after Harvey and Imelda storms undermined the base of roads and the thousands of construction vehicles, log trucks, gravel trucks, sand trucks, utility trucks, concrete trucks, heavy equipment and mobile homes continued to tear them up every day to service 30,000+ lots subdivisions. Commissioner James “Boo” Reaves sent me an email in August 2019, that he would have a new budget in October 2019 and would be able to then have our request placed on the Liberty County Commissioner Court agenda.

"On October 1, 2019, I resent the request and the request was and is still being ignored. Mr. Reaves does not seem to care about the damage to his constituents vehicles and the unsafe conditions for our CISD school buses. I reached out to Judge J Knight, Liberty County Judge, and he explained that unless a request comes from Commissioner Reaves that his hands are tied.

"The county collects millions in taxes from the city of Plum Grove and our ETJ, but the funds are sent elsewhere in the county. The city of Plum Grove has been requesting that the county honor the inter-local agreement for five years. Minor things have been addressed. Limited to under five. None being actual road repairs or drainage issues. As of the date of this statement, the city has requested their legal staff address these issues as the council and I are tired of the “Texas Two-Step Run Around” the county has played with our constituents.

“I hope your involvement will be the nudge Liberty county needs to do their jobs! We in city of Plum Grove are ready to repair the roads if the county would send us the material we have requested! Thank you, Lee Ann Penton-Walker Mayor City of Plum Grove.”

KPRC 2 also reached out to Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Reaves by email and phone. KPRC 2 also visited his office but have not heard back from the commissioner about the potholes and the mayor’s claims.