Residents in a west Derby community can expect to see fewer problems from heavy rains.
At its Sept. 24 meeting, the City Council approved a $241,489 contract for drainage improvements in the Woodland Valley Addition. That’s an area west of K-15 and south of Meadowlark Blvd., on the boundary line of the city.
The action is pleasing area residents.
“It will help,” said Derrick Schreiber, who lives in the 1100 block of North Wild Turkey Court, the heart of the area hit hard when it pours.
“This is a raging river,” he said, pointing to the drainage ditch just west of his house. He’s also done a lot of work around his property himself to ease conditions.
Schreiber said he likes the neighborhood but having flood control will make it even better. And while the water doesn’t come into his house, it’s a major inconvenience and danger when it floods over Wild Turkey, along with causing erosion issues.
Just to his north, neighbor Deborah Williams expects a big change to the community with the project, and said it’s the change they’ve needed.
She has a stone drainage channel by her property, but with heavy rain, it overflows it as the water can’t easily turn into the north-south drainage ditch.
“It’s hard for water to make a 90-degree turn, so it goes over the road,” said Ky Louanghaksaphone, assistant city engineer.
Schreiber has photos of road flooding, which he presented to officials. The flooding makes Wild Turkey impassable and puts some yards along the route underwater.
Louanghaksaphone, who made a presentation to the council on the issues, said it’s a much-needed job and one he plans to have done this fall.
Project should cut maintenance
Mayor Randy White said this is example of a situation where the community became proactive, contacting him and city staff about the problem, and the result is that it was added to the city’s project list.
“This happens to be an issue that the neighbors are concerned about,” White said.
In addition to the drainage benefit to the neighborhood, the project will reduce the city's maintenance efforts, Louanghaksaphone said.
City Manager Kathy Sexton termed the situation a “heavy rains kind of problem.”
Adding to the issue is that it’s close to the Arkansas River, so the drainage is inclined to go that way. With this project, the movement of stormwater to the river will be easier and smoother.
The close-knit community is kind of hidden from the rest of Derby.
A lot of people may think it’s an older area, but the houses are fairly new. The residents like it because it’s close to K-15 Highway, yet it’s quiet and secluded.
Other than residents, few go that way because it’s off the main streets.
There will be two phases to the work.
The first phase involves installing culverts under Wild Turkey Drive and creating a new channel directing runoff west, to reduce the amount of drainage flowing south in the existing ditches.
Construction designs for the first phase are complete and ready to go.
The work will be done by Pearson Construction, which has been taking on a number of other projects in the city.
City officials like to collect a variety of bids but, in this case, only Pearson was interested.
Adjustment made for cost savings
Louanghaksaphone said the primary reasons cited for not bidding the project were the complexity of the work in comparison to the value of the project, and too many existing projects and work backlog due to the area’s excessively wet conditions.
Since the contractors made it clear they would be unlikely to submit a bid if the project were re-bid, officials went with the solo bid of $241,489.
However, the bid is more than the $150,000 project budget and the engineer's estimate of $152,072 prepared by TranSystems, which also designed the work. An examination was made into ways to cut costs, and city officials and TranSystem worked to come up with $12,000 in savings.
Since that’s still past budget, money will be used from the stormwater utility fund. The Capital Improvement Plan includes $150,000 for construction of Phase 1 improvements in 2019.
In a related matter, street improvements have been delayed until spring to allow construction of the first phase drainage without damaging the proposed street upgrades. The residents petitioned for those street changes.
The second phase will redirect a portion of stormwater runoff around the subdivision but will require approval of BNSF Railroad and KDOT. That will take place in 2021.
Louanghaksaphone said a drainage easement is required to construct a portion of the drainage channel west of Wild Turkey, and city staff worked with the property owner to acquire the necessary easement.
Louanghaksaphone said the residents and city have been working together on this, including meeting at an open house.
“We’re pretty excited for the neighbors,” he said. “It will be a big improvement for them.”