Weathering the Storm: Eldon stormwater project making steady progress

Construction crews make progress on digging work near the Eldon intersection of E 3rd St. and S Mills St.

After a year of terrible flooding in 2017, Eldon put Mayco Engineering to work designing a master stormwater plan. The goal was to gain a better insight as to the major flooding ducts within the city and form an expansion plan on these ducts moving into the future. There have been a number of improvements completed within the project since its inception; here is where the progress stands:

Where the work will be done?

The main water drainage line that the city is focusing its efforts on connects at a few key points. The line starts near the high school practice football and track field on W North St., works its way south under the high school gym parking lot and diagonally moves down to W 2nd St.

The line travels east until it meets the intersection of S Oak St. where it continues southeast near E 3rd St. This is currently where much of the work is being done. The blocked off route near E 3rd St. and S Mill St. is where residents can see the current drain expansion. Past this, the line travels underneath land near Randles Court and US54 until it reaches its exit outside of town.

Eldon City Administrator Don Smith says this route consists of the main areas of concern for stormwater draining and will see the most improvements moving forward. While the work on S. Mills St. is the current construction focus, he says they may move on to work under the gym parking lot next, though this is still to be determined as this work would create a massive disruption with available parking near the school.

What is being done right now?

The work on E 3rd St. and S Mills St. is being done to expand the opening in which the water drains. The current path goes from a 4’ by 8’ opening down to a 3’ by 5’ opening at that intersection, creating a bottleneck that is limiting water drainage. By expanding this opening, many extra gallons of water will be able to drain quickly during heavy rain.

“It all connects and causes water to back up upstream which creates a mess,” Smith explained.

Smith says it will only take a couple more weeks until the S Mills St. road blockage is cleared up and traffic can resume as normal. As for the work connected along E 3rd St., Smith says they want the road to be open as soon as possible, which may mean a gravel roadway during the winter and fresh pavement being installed in the spring.

Once the work on E 3rd St. has been fully completed, the garden club will work with the city to create a green space with shrubs and grass along the newly paved road.

What is the cost of the project?

As the most recent board of aldermen meeting, Smith says the cost of the project has been confirmed to be around $1.9 million dollars. This includes upgrading culverts, installing a catch basin underneath the parking lot near the gym, the E 3rd St work, and expansion work on the other main points along the previously noted route.

Smith says if they would have expedited the issue and planned for work to be done in 2020, it would have sucked up all available capital funds, which was not desired by the board. The board has until Oct. 24 to submit money for a grant to offset costs to around $1.2 million.

How effective will this work erase flooding problems?

Smith says that the flooding issues will always come down to the amount of rain the drainage is handling. At the end of the day, he says the city is confident that this work will improve drainage. He says residents should expect some flooding in heavy rains, but this work will go a long way to prevent unsafe puddles and will help drain built-up areas much quicker.

“We can’t design and construct for every contingency,” Smith said. “What we have to prevent is anyone getting hurt because of the water.”