City works to repair water damage

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The city of Lakewood is working on repairs after a July 13 storm caused issues with debris and flooding.

“In some areas we received about 3.25 inches of rain in two hours, which is a lot for Lakewood,” said Chris Jacobsen, maintenance engineer with the city. “We had several areas where the drainage and gulches are not as big as they should be.”

According to Jacobsen, among the areas particularly hard hit was Lakewood Gulch, along Independence St., where a retaining wall collapsed. The wall was old and non-engineered, which Jacobsen said contributed to the collapse.

In the McIntyre Gulch, along both Holland and Garrison streets, water flooded over the banks and washed out the sides of the roadway. The water also picked up commercial-sized dumpsters and washed them down gulches in several locations.

According to information provided by Stacie Oulton, public information officer with the city, “improvements to McIntyre Gulch upstream from West Sixth Avenue are being designed, and construction is expected to start later this year. The design and construction for this project cost about $550,000, and the Urban Drainage and Flood Control District maintenance program, which also works to reduce flooding issues throughout the metro area, is paying for this project.”

Another project in the works will result in drainage improvements on Iris Street from West 20th Avenue to 15th Place. Improvements are being designed, and construction is expected to start later this year. The design and construction for this project is expected to cost about $600,000, according to Oulton.

Jacobsen said at this point, repair work is the focus, but somewhere down the road serious improvements will need to be made to some areas.

According to information provided by Oulton, “Lakewood has 12 major drainages or gulches running west to east, and the stormwater-management utility fee is in place to help pay for improvements and maintenance of these drainages and their accompanying stormwater inlets and culverts to reduce the danger to people and property from flooding. The fee is used to clean and remove debris from the drainages, repair damage to public property such as occurred on July 13, replace deteriorated facilities, meet federal and state stormwater quality requirements and, as funding allows, provide new facilities.”

About $70 million is needed to improve all the drainage issues in the city, Jacobsen said.

In 2012, Lakewood’s Stormwater Management Utility repaired severe bank erosion in Lakewood and Weir gulches, rehabilitated an 84-inch-diameter culvert beneath Alameda Parkway at Utah Avenue, replaced a collapsed box culvert on Dry Gulch at Saulsbury Street, and completed several other minor local drainage construction projects. Crews also cleaned and maintained 1,649 stormwater inlets and 30 associated discharge pipes along with six miles of gulches, according to Oulton.