AUSTIN (KXAN) — Homeowners along Little Walnut Creek in north Austin are frustrated with a city of Austin project that was supposed to reduce the risk of flooding in their neighborhood after it was put on hold with no indication of resuming anytime soon.

The homeowners, who live along Mearns Meadow Boulevard, had to evacuate their homes on April 20 after a severe storm brought heavy amounts of rainfall into the area. A storm culvert adjacent to the homes became clogged with dead trees and debris, leading to extreme flooding.

Flood risk reduction project

The city of Austin’s public works department started the Little Walnut Creek Flood Risk Reduction project in the summer of 2021. The project is going to install an underground storm culvert that runs underneath Mearns Meadow Boulevard.

The city said on its website the project would remove some homes from the floodplain.

Scott Stephan, who lives on Mearns Meadow, said the city had already done some work underneath the street in front of his home. But in November of 2022, the city provided an update to Stephan, saying the project was put on hold.

The city’s website shows the project was put on hold as it looked for a new contractor.

“They began talking about that project almost 15 years ago. It didn’t get underway until two years ago and then got part way through and quit. So, it definitely feels frustrating to have a project where they recognize a problem and were unable to correct it,” Stephan said.

Stephan and his wife had to pack up their two small children in the car and evacuate their home the night of the storm. His neighbor, Ryan Albright, was in Europe when the storm happened. His house got at least two feet of water inside. Both are in the process of cleaning and fixing their homes.

Questions remain on the project

KXAN reached out to the public works department to ask about the paused project a day after the storm. A spokesperson said the department would provide answers to our questions after the weekend.

KXAN asked the department for answers again after the weekend, and were told answers would be provided later in the day. KXAN is still waiting for answers about the project and when it will resume.

The project has been on hold for more than six months now.