Flooding on lower Third Avenue should be a thing of the past after the city completes an extra storm drainage outlet in the area.
The city has contracted out the work to Bowerman Excavating at a cost of $400,000. Crews were out in heavy rain on Tuesday working on the outlet, diverting traffic on lower Third Avenue for a time in the morning.
“It’s a continuation of the Dry Creek project,” said City of Port Alberni engineering tech Boyd Wong. The budget for the Dry Creek flood mitigation project was $2.7 million and including the storm outfall being constructed now, $2.3 million has been spent.
“What we’re trying to achieve there is to install another storm outfall to help alleviate the flooding that we get in that area, in front of Deja Vu Books. We always seem to have issues with water sitting in that area when we have heavy rains.”
Approximately a foot of standing water pooled near Bute Street during the heavy rains in December 2015. While according to city engineer Guy Cicon, the flood mitigation work on Dry Creek addressed the flooding caused by the creek, it didn’t address issues with the city’s aging storm drain network.
“When we reached 5 millimetres per hour (of rain), the rainfall exceeded the capacity of the underground drainage system,” Cicon said at the time. Precipitation reached that rate for four or five hours during the afternoon and early evening of Dec. 5.
Wong said that an extra storm outfall will be the short-term measure to stop flooding on Third Avenue.
“This will be a way of helping alleviate the immediate problems in the area and then eventually it’s designed to continue up Bute Street,” said Wong. Currently, the new outfall will only collect storm water up to the Bute Street and Fourth Avenue intersection.
Wong said that while the system used to be able to handle the rains, the city’s one outfall in the area is insufficient these days.
“Right now, for that lower Fourth Avenue area north of Dry Creek there’s only one storm outfall that goes through the Husky gas station property and that obviously can’t handle all the extra water,” he said.
“It seems like the rain is more intense now. It was designed at one time and it worked fine but for whatever reason now it just can’t seem to handle the intensity of rain.”