City Officials Eye Sioux Falls Intersections Prone To Flooding During Severe Weather Season

49th Street & Louise Avenue To Get Water Detection Sensors That Alert Motorists

When the rain falls, several intersections in Sioux Falls are hard to ignore. During severe weather season, they’re often worse; many of them covered with inches of water. KDLT’s Jill Johnson tells us which streets to watch out for, and what the city is doing to improve one of the biggest problem areas.

In the last decade, the city has invested millions to control the flooding that comes with the Big Sioux River and Skunk Creek, including construction and upgrades to the levee system, diversion dam, old culverts, and closure structures.

City of Sioux Falls Storm Drainage Manager Andy Berg said, “It’s an ongoing task for our drainage group and public works to analyze the areas around town that have… flood prone areas.”

Even after the improvements though, there are low lying intersections throughout Sioux Falls that retain water; several on Grange, Westport, Western and Minnesota Avenues.

Berg said, “We have seen cars floating in this intersection in past years, in those very large storm events.”

One of the biggest problem areas has been 49th Street and Louise Avenue. In August of 2015, the intersection was under water when parts of the city received more than a half-foot of rain.

“Basically, the streets slope towards the intersection in all directions. It relies heavily on the piping system underneath and the storm inlets to get a lot of water out of there,” said Berg.

During its reconstruction, large box culvert pipes have been added underneath the road to allow more water to flow downstream to the river. The city has plans to do the same further downstream. The city has also increased the size of a large detention pond upstream near 49th Street and Solberg Avenue to hold more water.

“We’re also adding a warning system with this project, some flashing lights that will detect when the water at the intersection gets to a certain depth,” Berg said.

They hope this is enough to keep motorists from driving through it. Motorists should stay away if they can’t see the road. Even a small amount of moving water can carry a vehicle.

The city says residents also play a huge part in preventing flooding. They want to remind homeowners to keep their sump pump operational. Those along with down spouts should pointed away from the home.

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