Severe Weather Awareness Week: Flood Control

Posted at: 04/25/2014 6:23 PM

Photo: ABC 6 News
Photo: ABC 6 News

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- It is the final day of Severe Weather Awareness week. Today we look at the history of problems Austin has had with flooding and the solution currently in construction.

Ten years ago, during Austin's 2004 flood of record, ten to twelve inches of rain fell in just a few hours covering Main Street in four feet of water. "That was two feet higher than any flood we had had previously," says city engineer Steven Lang.

The YMCA was one of many businesses in Austin that ended up with flood water in their building, "in our super gym area we ended up with two and a half inches of water...we had to replace all of the flooring and all of the dry wall," says Terry Trummer, YMCA building supervisor.

The Y ended up with $95,000 worth of damage.

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- Austin has a history of major flooding in it's past due to its proximity to three major tributaries, "the Cedar River, Turtle Creek, and Dobbins Creek. So depending on where these rain events hit in the watershed really impacts how flooding will occur in Austin," Lang says.

In the past few years, the city of Austin has made flood prevention a priority, culminating in a $14.5 million project along North Main Street. The project will include a flood wall, road raise, and berms from the municipal pool north to Interstate 90.

The project will protect the commercial property on the west side of Main Street including the YMCA, "it can't get done soon enough, because every time we get a heavy rain, that thought is in my mind," Trummer says.

The hope is the new flood wall will prevent a flood like 2004 from ever happening again, "the combination flood wall and road raise will protect us to a height equal to that 2004 flood. Then we will also build or have stop logs or an invisible wall that we can put in place that will protect three feet higher than the 2004 flood," says Lang.

The bulk of construction will be finished by the end of the fall, but the entire project will not be done until Spring of 2015.