Oak trees in southwest Houston torn down for $6.3 million water line

By Andy Cerota - Anchor/Reporter

HOUSTON - Heavy construction equipment occupies the ground where several majestic oak trees once stood in southwest Houston.

Sheri Cortez admits that it was heartbreaking to see them go.

"We're trying to make it a more liveable part of our community and when it's demolished, it's hard to replace that," Cortez said.

What upset her even more was when she found out why. The trees, along West Bellfort between Fondren and Gessner, were cleared from the esplanade to make way for a brand new $6.3 million, 42-inch water line, not the storm drainage system upgrade which Cortez claims the area was slated to receive.

"Because we flood every time it rains," Cortez said.

While construction is just getting underway, Houston's Public Work's Department says the water main project was approved by Houston City Council two years ago. When it comes to storm drainage repairs, the worst areas take precedence.

"Streets, sewers, curbs, gutters; we look at the bigger picture as opposed to just putting in storm drains," said Alvin Wright.

The oak trees may be gone, but the city says every effort will be made to beautify the area. When the work is done, crews plan to re-plant twice as many trees; 100 gallon Cypress trees will be planted instead of Oak trees.

A city spokesperson told Local 2 there is no storm water project slated for West Bellfort and the only recorded concern of flooding was in an area away from the current water line project.

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