On November 30, 2015, Tom Curtis watched the unthinkable unfold.
"Basically the backyard was washed away," Curtis recalled. "The retaining walls had collapsed and the yard was gone."
On Monday, Curtis watched from his backyard in Ashmore Estates, off of Old Jacksonville Highway, as crews worked on a new, enclosed drainage channel to replace the one that collapsed nearly two years before.
Kyle Dykes, project engineer for the City of Tyler, said a contractor started on the project in May and is about 30% complete. Construction should be complete by the end of 2017, said Dykes.
The work is centered behind homes on Evansburg Drive, between Salisbury and Ashmore Lanes.
"The failure affected three homes," said Dykes. "Seven homes on south side of channel that will be more impacted by the construcion activity."
The city found record rainfall in the months prior to the failure caused groundwater to build up behind a retaining wall, and the added pressure caused it to cave in. Debris blocked the channel.
"As a result of blockage in the channel, there was some flooding in the neighborhood," said Dykes.
The city took emergency action to clear debris and started designs for a permanent solution.
When complete, the once open channel will be an enclosed, concrete structure.
Contractors will also replace the retaining wall and backfill the yards impacted.
"Slope stabilization has been the primary focus so we don't cause more damage just in the act of doing the work," said Dykes.
While the process has taken some time, Mr. Curtis said he is pleased with the city's handling of this entire situation.
"Hopefully we won't have any flooding problems downstream, that this will take care of it, and hopefully we won't have any further issues with our backyard," said Curtis.
Construction costs are expected to total approximately $1.7 million, Dykes said.
The city secured Federal Emergency Management Agency funds for the project, which they expect will cover about 60% of the total. The remaining expenses will be covered with city Half Cent Sales Tax funds.