The Hamilton Drain East System Storm Sewer project will improve drainage in portions of the Highland Park neighborhood. Currently, an old storm drainage culvert runs underground through part of Highland Park. The old culvert was built in the 1930's and is made of treated wood planks. The culvert is rectangular in shape, and varies in size up to 5 feet by 7 feet.

The 1930's wooden culvert is shown in orange.

The wooden box culvert runs through the Highland Park Neighborhood.
The 1930's wooden box culvert location is shown in orange.‍

In some locations the culvert runs beneath homes. The photos below show the condition of the culvert. At some locations, it is in relatively good condition. In other locations, the culvert is in fair to poor condition.

The wooden culvert varies in condition.

‍In some locations the wooden culvert is in relatively good condition.
‍In other locations the wooden culvert is in fair to poor condition.

Current City standards require storm sewers to carry the runoff from a 5-year storm entirely within the pipe. With storms larger than 5-year, water may overflow the pipes and run over the ground. However, no flooding of buildings should occur even with the 100-year storm.

The old culvert does not meet these standards.

In fact, the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) has designated a Special Flood Hazard Area in the neighborhood. Properties in the shaded area may have higher insurance rates, because FEMA considers them prone to flooding.

FEMA has designated the shaded areas as a Special Flood Hazard Area.

FEMA has designated the shaded areas as Special Flood Hazard Area.
‍Special Flood Hazard Area

The City will explore alternatives to address these issues.

Improvements will include a combination of new storm sewers and “green solutions.” Construction could begin in 2020-2021 and take several years. The City’s goal is to eliminate or reduce the Special Flood Hazard Area, so that no buildings are included within it. The project will completely replace the wooden box with a new storm sewer system and remove the wooden box from service. The wooden box will be removed and/or filled with fill material where possible.

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Christopher Kuhl, P.E.
City of Des Moines | Engineering Department
400 Robert D. Ray Drive
Des Moines, IA 50309-1891
Phone: 515.283.4073

Scott Almeida, P.E.
Kirkham Michael
4390 114th Street
Urbandale, IA 50333
Phone: 515.393.4771