North Austin neighborhood launches flood risk reduction project.

Austin, Texas – After years of delays, the much-anticipated Little Walnut Creek Flood Risk Reduction Project has finally commenced. Local residents, like Larry Comer, who has resided on Mearns Meadow Boulevard for over 17 years, are relieved as recent flooding threatened the safety of their homes. Comer expressed his satisfaction, stating, “This project was long overdue, and given the flooding we experienced in the spring, we are glad it is finally moving forward.”

The flooding in April posed an unprecedented challenge for Comer and his neighbors. It was not the creek behind their houses, but rather an upstream culvert blockage that caused the water to overflow into the streets. Fortunately, Comer’s property remained undamaged. Recounting the incident, he said, “I have never had any issues with flooding except for last April. Luckily, I didn’t have any damage from that.”

In the initial phase of the project, the Capital Delivery Services Department closed off the traffic on Mearns Meadow Boulevard from Rutland Drive to Parkfield Drive starting Saturday morning. Detour signs were promptly erected to inform drivers of alternative routes. Adjusting to the inconvenience, Nick Rector, a nearby resident, acknowledged, “Living in a metropolitan city, you have to understand that improving infrastructure is inevitable and will impact our daily lives.”

The Capital Delivery Services Department outlined the infrastructure enhancements that the project entails. These include the construction of a 20-foot-deep trench along Mearns Meadow Boulevard to install a 13 feet by 10 feet culvert. The project’s four-phase progression will span Mearns Meadow Boulevard, terminating at the Mearns Meadow Detention Pond in Quail Creek Park. Residents have appreciated the city’s efforts to keep them informed about the project’s timeline. Rector noted, “The city has been pretty communicative about where the project stands.”

While the inconveniences brought by the construction are anticipated, Rector and his neighbors are prepared for the temporary disruption that the project will cause. Rector mentioned, “We have seen this coming because at some point, they are going to dig up the entire street on Mearns Meadow. It’s the cost of progress.” Alongside flood reduction measures, the project also includes the repaving of Mearns Meadow Boulevard, providing a smoother commute for residents.

The impacts on traffic flow throughout the area are expected to be manageable, albeit with some diversions. Rector shared his thoughts, saying, “I know there is going to be some diversion of traffic, but for the most part, it is going to be pretty easy for us on this block at least for the next six to nine months until they reach this area.” The completion of phase one is projected for the spring of 2024.

With the commencement of the Little Walnut Creek Flood Risk Reduction Project, Austin residents like Comer and Rector are hopeful that the project will effectively curb future flooding woes, ensuring the safety of their homes and streets.

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