In the span of a single month this summer, northeast Johnson County saw two “25-year” storms and a “50-year” storm, a string of events that led to hundreds of thousands of dollars in flooding damage and emergency response operations in the heart of Prairie Village.
In hopes of identifying ways to mitigate the effects of Brush Creek flooding in the vicinity of Mission Road and 68th Street, where a sharp drop in elevation brings dangerous pooling when the waterway hops its banks, the Prairie Village City Council on Monday approved a preliminary engineering study for the flood plain.
The study, which will likely cost between $25,000 and $40,000, will be conducted by Don Baker of Water Resources Solutions. The city will apply to a grant program through Johnson County’s Stormwater Management Advisory Council that could reimburse up to 75 percent of the cost of the study.
Public Works Director Keith Bredehoeft said the study would give city staff and the council a better sense of what, if anything, can be done to reduce the damage done by flooding as well as the danger posed to motorists when Brush Creek spills over. Several times in recent years, motorists have gotten stranded in quickly rising water in the area.
Bredehoeft said the study would examine both engineering solutions that might be help prevent road flooding as well as warning systems to keep motorists from driving into rising water. He said there may be other solutions that could help prevent flooding to homes in the plain as well.
“Roadway flooding is separate from home flooding, there are solutions on both sides,” Bredehoeft said.
He indicated that stormwater management in northeast Johnson County continued to be an issue that will require countywide attention.
“A lot of water in Johnson County ends up right in this corridor,” he said.
Councilman Chad Andrew Herring said it was important for the city to take the issue head on.
“I think we need to be proactive,” he said. “If the weather in this part of our country is changing and we’re getting more of these kind of events with statistical regularity we need to be prepared for our options.”
The study is expected to take approximately six months.