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Engineers working on designs to help alleviate stormwater run off issues in Richmond, have almost complete with their first project.
Olsson Associates’ representative Stacy Kanaga said her firm is about 75 percent finished with the study and design for the city’s first stormwater project near Wilson Blvd. and McKinnley Street.
Currently, stormwater at that area runs over the roadway and collects in the basement of 402 Wilson Blvd.
Kanaga presented three different options for the project. One option is to increase the channel flow and upsize the culvert by replacing the 24-inch drainage tube with a 48 inch tube. Another option would be to build a large detention basin to slow down the flow. A third option, and the recommended option, is a combination of the two. The third option would still involve doublling the size of the tubing but would require a much smaller basin, similar to the one outside of city hall.
Estimates for only replacing the tubing and grading out the channel come in at approximately $60,000. Estimated cost for a large basin is about $110,000. The preferred option, the combination, would be about $80,000 according to the estimate.
Kanaga said the large basin option would eliminate any need for future downstream improvements, but would take up more than an acre. Furthermore, the land that would need to be utilized for a basin currently sits on cemetery property.
City Administrator Rick Childers said the city would have to pursue a stormwater easement.
All estimates include the actual work performed by city crews.
“It would be an in-house construction project,” Childers said. “Doing the work in house would reduce that significantly.”
Kanaga said the profile of the down stream would change slightly, but not enough to significantly impact downstream.
“It really wouldn’t be that significant of a difference, because that water is getting down there anyway because it’s flowing over the road,” she said. “By just opening it up and letting it go isn’t that much different than it flowing over the road.”
Kanaga said there would have to be additional projects downstream after this project is completed, but did say there are no problems upstream, so they have only one direction to work.
“There are problems downstream, but we’re systematically looking at it,” she said. “This isn’t going to fix downstream problems. We need to look at downstream problems separately from this.”
Councilman Tom Williams expressed concern for how it will change the backyards of some of the residents along Wilson Blvd. Childers said it wouldn’t impact it that much, but said the impact is better than the current situation.
“We can find ways to minimize flow downstream, but that’s going to maximize the amount of water that is retained in that area,” Childers said. “Would you rather have a bigger flooded channel or a swamp?”
Another public meeting will be held in the area with residents before moving forward with the final plan. Childers said after the project is complete, the city council will have to decide which area in the city to move on to next.