Project planned to eliminate street flooding in east Wichita neighborhood

On Tuesday, the Wichita City Council will vote on a project to improve drainage on Bleckley...
On Tuesday, the Wichita City Council will vote on a project to improve drainage on Bleckley Drive in the College Hill neighborhood.(KWCH)
Published: Jul. 1, 2022 at 10:24 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - One Wichita neighborhood may soon see less flooding. On Tuesday, the Wichita City Council will consider a project that could help eliminate flooding on Bleckley Drive in College Hill.

For those who live on the street, it’s no secret that if it rains, it floods.

Charles Harris has lived on Bleckley Drive since 1979. He has video from 2019 which shows a dangerous situation created by flooding near his home.

“A young lady drove across the intersection of Waterman and Bleckley in a Volkswagon Beatle and those float. And once she got into the intersection, the car began floating and actually got caught on the railing that’s down there,” Harris recalled.

Planning to fix the area began in 2018. Earlier this year, the city sought feedback from neighbors.

“What they plan to do, is how we understood it, was that they’re going to put eight-foot tubes under the street to try to alleviate the flooding on the surface,” Harris explained.

Until construction begins, signs posted on the east and west sides of Bleckley Drive warn drivers to “turn around and don’t drown.”

“The signs say ‘turn around, don’t drown.’ It’s important for people who are not familiar with the area that come over on the east side, if it’s storming, don’t drive on Bleckley,” Harris warned.

The city held two meetings on March 24 and April 1, 2022, to obtain feedback on the proposed project. According to the city council agenda, residents who attended the meeting were supportive of the improvements, as well as a $0.25 or larger increase in the monthly stormwater utilities base fee to provide funding for the project.

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