Hurricane Maria hit the Caribbean Sept. 20...
The last thing commuters in South Charlotte, North Carolina,
want to see is another road construction project. The areas around heavily
traveled Kenilworth Avenue and Park Road already have been the subject of the
nearly two-year South Water Main project--a venture designed to carry
large amounts of drinking water to southern Mecklenburg County.
As a result of the water main installation, area roads have
been snarled by traffic due to construction barricades, lane closures,
excavated streets, and the elimination of traffic lights. These issues have
only recently settled since the installation was completed late last year.
At the same time the water main project was beginning, an
assessment of the city's stormwater infrastructure also was taking place.
The Magnolia/Kirkwood Stormwater Study identified the Park Road and Kenilworth
Avenue storm culverts as below the current city standards for flooding impact.
During periods of heavy, infrequent rainfall these areas
backup because of the culverts inability to convey excess water beneath the
streets from one side of the road to the other. This potential flooding could
bring about unfavorable conditions for motorists, emergency vehicles and local
The option to replace the culverts with larger structures
designed to pass these storm events would mean additional construction and
traffic delays in the areas already impacted by the water main project.
Local engineering consultant W.K. Dickson & Co., Inc.
(WKD), working with Charlotte Storm Water Services (CSWS), developed an
initiative that would attenuate or "slow down" runoff prior to it
reaching the overburdened culverts.
WKD specializes in eleven professional engineering and
design practice areas, including stormwater management and parks and recreation
planning. At the city's request, WKD re-evaluated the existing stormwater
system and proposed that nearby Sedgefield Park, also in need of significant
renovation, have a section set aside to temporarily store water during
infrequent rain events, thereby utilizing the firm's expertise in both
By carefully planning an area in the park to handle runoff,
the water collected could be released downstream over a short period of time
after the remaining additional stormwater was first collected by the culverts.
"What this means for Charlotte Storm Water Services is
that excavated land in non-critical park areas allows for temporary ponding of
rain water," said Scott Whalen, WKD's project manager. "Not
only does this plan meet the goal of bringing the culverts up to city
standards, but it would mean that sections of Park Road and Kenilworth Avenue
would no longer have to be replaced and the traveling public would not have to
endure another closure of both roads."
The results of the WKD plan would also allow funds earmarked
for culvert upgrades to be used for projects that would not have been realized
"CSWS would contribute portions of the funds initially
allocated to replacing the culverts to funds already allocated for Sedgefield
Park upgrades," said CSWS' project manager, Jennifer Conia.
"This will allow for additional amenities such as a foot bridges,
shelters, basketball courts and some additional landscaping to be added to the
park now instead of waiting for more funds to surface...everybody
wins," she added.
The proposed project was so promising that city engineers
gave WKD the go ahead to design the project without delay. After thorough
coordination with the county, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, and neighborhood
residents, the construction plan is nearly complete, and park renovations are
in the works this summer.
The entire park project is scheduled to be completed by
spring of 2004.
For further information, contact W.K. Dickson & Co.,
Inc. at 919/851-6364.