New Drainage System To Provide Flood Relief To Tulsa Neighborhood

Tuesday, March 8th 2011, 5:25 pm
By: News On 6

Emory Bryan, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Whenever there's heavy rain, about 100 homes in Tulsa flood.

The families in those homes have had repeated losses on flood insurance. The City is about to make that list of homes a little shorter.

The Florence Park South neighborhood is about to get some flood relief that's been in the works a long time.

Homeowner Kenneth Hale says his neighborhood has problems whenever there's a flash flood.

"The drains just apparently can't handle it, I'm not an engineer, but that's what I've seen, it can't handle that amount of water in a short amount of time," he said.

The city bought out a frequently flooded home at 21st place and Delaware Court more than 20 years ago. It was on the upper end of a tributary of Crow Creek.

But the area has had a flooding problem since the construction of the Broken Arrow Expressway.  That blocked the natural flow of water.

The government will spend $2 million to improve the drainage at the location, reducing the chance of flood for at least 40 homes.  The drain line will run right down 21st Place.

See the proposed new drain line

"No you can't say they won't ever flood, but it will definitely reduce the probability of a flood and the severity of a flood," Bill Robison, with the City of Tulsa, said.

Not far away, the City has also put a contract on a house near 22nd and Columbia. It's at the bottom end of another floodplain and floods almost every year.

The government will spend $253,000 to buy out the homeowner and bulldoze the house, figuring that's cheaper than to keep paying claims on federal flood insurance or by trying more extreme projects to keep the water back.

"There's just too much overland flow and the house sits in a low area with natural overland flow so there is no other solution other than to buy it out," Robison said.

The money for all this is mostly federal matching funds, directed towards the highest priority projects with a history of repeated flooding.