Archive for Wednesday, March 25, 1998


March 25, 1998


Installing new pipes and a drainage ditch should help ease flooding problems northeast of Second and Michigan streets. Total cost: $1.42 million.

A project to soak up water in the city's most flood-prone area is about to get the city's go-ahead.

Garney Cos., of Kansas City, Mo., is in line to install new drainage pipes and an above-ground channel between 22 homes near Lawrence Memorial Hospital.

Lawrence city commissioners are expected to accept Garney's $904,000 bid Tuesday night, during their regular meeting at city hall, Sixth and Massachusetts.

City officials want to get Garney on the job as soon as possible after it is hired. Construction is expected to be finished by year's end.

``We certainly intend to get them going,'' City Manager Mike Wildgen said. ``Clearly it's going to start this spring. ... We're anxious to get this one under way, because it is a priority project.''

The project calls for resolving drainage problems in an area bordered by Second, Third, Michigan and Arkansas streets. Flooding problems in the area are considered the city's worst, as judged by the city's own Stormwater Master Plan.

The project includes burying a reinforced concrete pipe between the back yards of 22 homes. The city already bought two homes in the area, for a total of $146,000, to allow the pipes to go through.

An above-ground drainage ditch is planned to run alongside the pipe, to carry runoff from the heaviest rains -- up to 9 inches an hour -- away from homes without pouring into nearby garages, basements and living rooms.

``It's going to raise the level of service to an acceptable standard,'' said Chad Voigt, the city's stormwater engineer.

City officials had anticipated that the project's actual construction would cost about $1.126 million, but five of the six construction bids came in lower. Garney's $904,000 bid is 20 percent below the estimate, for a savings of $222,000.

Taking all other expenses into account -- acquisition of land and easements; engineering costs; relocation of fences and garages; legal fees; principal and interest -- the project is expected to cost $1.42 million, up $220,000 from previous estimates.

Financing will come from the city's stormwater utility, which gets its money from fees assessed to all property owners in the city through monthly utility bills. Typical homeowners pay $2 a month for drainage services, which is then poured into a fund to finance major drainage-improvement projects and ongoing maintenance for the city's 200 miles of drainage pipes, ditches and detention ponds.

A group of residents in the area has sued the city over the drainage problems. No settlement or judgment has been reached.

-- Mark Fagan's phone message number is 832-7188. His e-mail address is

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