26th Street damage

An aerial view of the damage caused by runoff near the intersection of 26th Street and 32nd Avenue.

The City Commission declared a drainage project along 26th Street an emergency, due to excessive amounts of rain early in July.

In a special meeting on Monday, August 5, the commission heard from City Engineer David Wicke, who explained the drainage problem. According to Wicke, the Harvest Hill Development stormwater drainage system was damaged during a heavy storm on July 9.

That storm, Wicke said, dropped 3.12 inches of rain in a 24-hour period, which equated to roughly a 25-year event, meaning there was a four percent chance of such an occurrence. That excess of water created a washout along the drain’s outlet, prompting Wicke to approach the commission to declare it an emergency.

In a memo to the commission, Wicke stated that a project to rehabilitate the washout area and make improvements to the storm water discharge is currently under design by Alliance Consulting. In order to expedite the project’s schedule and have the work completed as quickly as possible, Wicke said that the City could declare the project an emergency, allowing city engineers to pre-order construction materials to have on hand once a qualified contractor is selected to complete the work. An emergency declaration would allow the City to bypass the normal bidding process, Wicke stated in the memo.

The damage caused from the washout was significant, resulting in the loss of three sections of pipe and carving out a large section of land along the coulee south of 26th Street and west of 32nd Avenue West. Wicke said the drainage system was designed for a five-year storm, and the July 9 event simply exceeded the drainage systems capacity.

The washout has now worked its way north along the pipe towards 26th Street, and Wicke said another rain event like that in July would continue the washout and compromise the street itself.

At Monday’s meeting, Wicke told the commission that estimated costs for construction materials was around $300,000, and that city engineers would seek bids from at least three contractors to complete the work. Materials would take between six to eight weeks to order, Wicke said, giving time to award the project to qualified contractor.

Commissioner Tate Cymbaluk made the motion to approve the emergency declaration, which was seconded by Commissioner Brad Bekkedahl. The motion passed unanimously.

Also on the agenda for the special meeting, Airport Director Anthony Dudas presented a memo seeking approval for three bid schedules which involve creating signage to direct people to the new airport site. The three schedules are for Department of Transportation signage that will direct people to the airport using standard green D.O.T. signage places at certain locations; On-site wayfinding signage to help airport visitors navigate to specific areas, such as parking and delivery; and an airport monument sign to be constructed at the entrance of the road to the commercial terminal.

Bekkedahl made a motion to approve the proposal, with a second from Cymbaluk. The motion was passed unanimously.

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