Drainage Improvements Protect Residents, Infrastructure and Waterways

Communications Deputy Director

Eric Vreeland
(865) 215-3480

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Twitter
  • Share via Email
News item

Drainage Improvements Protect Residents, Infrastructure and Waterways

Posted: 08/10/2015
A good strong rain can be refreshing on a hot summer afternoon, but all of that water does more than soak the lawn and azaleas. Especially in urban areas with a lot of asphalt and concrete, rainwater has to have somewhere to go. Without sufficient drainage, it will overflow creeks, flood roadways, damage property and endanger lives. And in a city with infrastructure built over the course of more than 200 years, keeping the water moving is an ongoing challenge.

That's why the City of Knoxville budgets $500,000 a year in capital improvement funds for drainage improvements in neighborhoods across the city. The proposed projects are selected annually from a prioritized list developed by the City's Stormwater Engineering staff.

Drainage improvements can include repairing or replacing pipes and drains, or adding new ones; creating "green infrastructure," which uses vegetation, soils, and natural processes to manage water flow and retention; rebuilding roadways and sidewalks to improve water removal; removing sediment to increase stream capacity; and many other approaches, depending on the physical characteristics of a specific location.

"Drainage improvements are the kind of, literally, ground-level projects that people don't necessarily think about, but they make a huge difference in protecting people and property," said Christi Branscom, Deputy to the Mayor and Chief Operating Officer for the City. "We have to continue to invest in our basic infrastructure to maintain the quality of life in all of our neighborhoods."

More than a dozen neighborhood drainage projects are currently at some stage of development.

Four are part of a package currently out for construction bids:

• North Cherry Street at Cecil Avenue: Replace failed metal pipe to prevent road collapse;
• 1400 block of Boyd Street: Replace and extend existing collapsed drainage system;
• Strong Alley (runs behind the buildings on the east side of Market Square): Upsize existing system to alleviate structural flooding in adjacent buildings;
• Forest Park Boulevard at Newcom Avenue: Install green infrastructure, intersection and sidewalk improvements.

Bids on that package are due Aug. 12, with work expected to begin this fall.

In addition, another 13 projects are at earlier stages of design or right-of-way acquisition:

• First Creek at Mineral Springs: Removal of sediment to restore flow capacity to the creek;
• Middlebrook Pike at Unaka Street: Alleviate intersection flooding;
• 810 Maryville Pike: Alleviate roadway flooding;
• Wood-Smith at McKamey Road: Alleviate roadway flooding;
• 1243 Maryville Pike: Alleviate roadway flooding;
• 3000 block of Lay Avenue: Alleviate structural flooding;
• 2200 Martha Berry Drive: Alleviate structural flooding;
• Keeble Avenue at Tomlinson Street: Alleviate structural flooding;
• 6022 Ellesmere Drive: Add capacity to alleviate system flooding;
• Upland Avenue at Whittle Springs Road: Restore flow path away from failed pipe;
• Glenwood Avenue at Shamrock Avenue: Reinforce existing pipe to prevent collapse of adjacent structures;
• Noelton Drive at Hiawatha Drive: Alleviate structural flooding;
• 806 Maplehurst Court: Alleviate structural flooding.

For more information on projects overseen by the City Engineering Department, see Capital Improvements Projects.