$16.6M project to reduce flood risk along Little Walnut Creek


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Rain events like the one this past weekend can sometimes bring up problems for certain Austin neighborhoods. On Monday, the City of Austin’s Watershed Protection Department is working to reduce the risk of flooding for nearly 80 homes near Little Walnut Creek.

The project would protect homes that fall under the floodplain from Golden Meadow Drive to Rutland Drive and improve the drainage on Mearns Meadow Boulevard. 

The city says there are a few places in this area where roads cross over the creek, and this project will make it less likely that these crossings will flood.

Throughout the years, the area has flooded. It was greatly impacted during the 1981 Memorial Day flood. Following that flood, the city decided to build a detention pond near Quail Creek Park.

Now, the city wants to build a culvert that will pour into the detention pond, which will store the water and slowly release it back into Little Walnut Creek downstream.

However, in order to do so, they need to get approval from the city’s Parks Department because the project includes improvements and temporary impacts to the park. On Monday, a subcommittee will decide whether to approve it.

Neighbors KXAN spoke with say they look forward to it.

“That’s a smart idea,” said David Buhr. “You want to make sure the homes aren’t going to get flooded and cause all kinds of damage because you never know what can happen.”

If approved, the project will then be taken to the full Parks Department Board later his month.

The city says some of the improvements include adding more area for the play fields, constructing new trails around the park and pond and providing ADA-approved access from the trails to the bottom of the pond.

The Watershed Protection Department estimates all of this will cost $16.6 million and will take three years to construct. It will be done in phases to limit disruption to the neighborhood and keep as much of Mearns Meadow Boulevard open.

Construction is estimated to begin late next year. 

A look at other projects: 

There are many areas across the city with significant flood risk. The Watershed Protection Department has a master plan that helps identify and prioritize risk areas. Another project that’s expected to start next year is near South Lamar off Blubonnet — just south of Oltorf.

Right now, the current drainage system is not large enough to drain the stormwater that it needs to.

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