Broken Arrow Retaining Wall Damage Closes Busy Retail-Area Road

Wednesday, July 17th 2019, 6:28 pm
By: Erick Payne

One section of busy Broken Arrow road will likely be closed for several more months.

Heavy rainfall in May severely damaged the retaining wall next to Hillside Drive, which is near Bass Pro Shops. That part of Hillside Drive has been closed since May when heavy rain buckled the retaining wall, curb and pavement.

Engineers also found a significant void behind the wall. Their drone video shows land above the wall sliding down.

"Frankly I'm surprised it's still standing," Broken Arrow Director of Engineering and Construction Alex Mills told councilors at Tuesday's meeting.

The city estimates it could cost $800,000 to $1,000,000 to completely replace the wall.

"This obviously has a history of groundwater problems," Mills said.

Construction on the road and retaining wall was finished in 2014 around a busy retail area. Crews had to level a portion of the hill, and the retaining wall was the cheapest way to make the route possible.

Broken Arrow Director of Engineering and Construction Alex Mills says the first issues came up a couple years later.

"That wall had some less significant problems but problems in the December of '15, January of 2016 range," Mills said.

This time, Mills thinks the best, and safest option to prevent more problems is to completely rebuild the wall, which could take nearly a year.

The road closure means some businesses on either side of this portion of the retaining wall are being are affected too.

Charleston's General Manager Allison Cotner says so far, their sales have dropped slightly.

"It's more of a destination restaurant now than something you're leaving shopping heading home that you're passing deciding to eat at," Cotner said.

Cotner says they're more worried about business when winter hits if that section of road is still closed. She thinks they won't get as many holiday shoppers stopping to eat.

"December - I think it's really going to effect us in a negative way," Cotner said.

City leaders say getting Hillside Drive reopened as soon as possible is a top priority.

"Once we tear down the existing wall we don't know what we're going to find, so if we find significant problems it could delay it a little more," Mills said.