City Hires Engineering Firm to Finalize Drainage Plans to Solve Avenue P Flooding Problem
SAN ANGELO, TX — The City of San Angelo moved closer to implementing its plan to reduce or eliminate flooding in the neighborhood around Avenue P Tuesday when council approved spending $111,827 to hire consultants Freese and Nichols to engineer and design how the drainage ponds will be placed and built. The design contract calls for soil testing, structural design of the detention ponds, and the delivery of plans and specs for their construction.
The Avenue P flooding problem has been an ongoing, unaddressed problem for that neighborhood for 40 to 50 years, Councilman Harry Thomas said. It is the second most problematic drainage issue within the city limits, he said. The top problem is the drainage issue on Bell Street where the East Angelo Draw crosses there. That drainage problem will be addressed during the reconstruction of Bell Street expected to begin this summer.
The Avenue P area sits along the low lying areas near the Concho River and has for years been deluged with water as areas west of there, in particular Angelo State University, have grown. With growth, more and more pavement was constructed, such as parking areas along Knickerbocker Road. Pavement denied water to seep into formerly porous pastureland that had been there before.
During every heavy rain, water rushes eastward through paved areas, downhill, until it reaches and then covers many of the streets and lawns in the Avenue P area.
Over the years, as residents there complained, the City floated ideas for how to fix the problem. One of the more controversial solutions was to have the City purchase homes there and turn the most flood-prone areas into parks. But not many residents there desired to sell their homes and land. Implementing imminent domain proceedings to seize the properties would have been met with strident opposition. Many families have ancestral connections with their homes there.
Another idea floated was to construct drainage piping below the streets there. But expected opposition from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and environmental agencies who control the drainage into the Concho River would have killed that idea if the exorbitant cost didn’t before.
Last year, City Engineers Russell Pehl and Lance Overstreet floated an idea of building a series of water detention ponds west of the Avenue P area. A town hall was held to explain the idea, and citizen feedback seemed to indicate the idea was a good one.
The plan called for the City to spend $2.4 million purchasing land for the ponds and to design and build them. Land purchases have been ongoing over the past few months in and around the Knickerbocker Road area and the engineers said the City now owns the properties needed for the detention pond project.
Tuesday’s 7-0 decision by Council will hire an engineering firm to design the drainage plan and ponds. Pehl said the contract terms are to have the designs drawn within six months, but he said the plans could be delivered sooner.
After the blueprints are ready, the City will decide what component of the drainage project can be constructed by City crews and what tasks will be outsourced to a private sector contractor.
After the decision on Tuesday, Councilman Thomas said he didn’t expect the cost of the design services will bust the $2.4 million budget, nor will the construction.
“We are well within the budget,” he said.