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Heavy rainfall, failed pipe cause road flooding

Heavy rainfall, failed pipe cause road flooding
Posted on 05/17/2021

The intersection of Pflumm Road and Santa Fe Trail Drive closed Sunday, May 16, due to high water. The road is open now, and the City of Lenexa is working to expedite an ongoing project to replace the failed pipe that caused the ponding. 

Short-term flooding problems

Pooling water was a problem throughout the region Sunday as stormwater infrastructure struggled to keep up with the intense rainfall. In Old Town Lenexa, these conditions were exacerbated by a failed pipe under the railroad that caused water to pool to unsafe levels at the intersection of Pflumm and Santa Fe Trail Drive. Police quickly closed the street once they were notified of the flooding, and Municipal Services crews were dispatched to pump out the water over the street.

While clearing and inspecting the pipe, Municipal Services staff discovered that  in addition to having collapsed in some places  the pipe was packed with mud, leaves and some construction/equipment debris. With rain in the forecast through the end of the week, crews will be on standby to pump water out as needed. There may be some short, intermittent lane closures while crews work in the area.

Long-term drainage solutions

Crews observed that the 8-inch clay pipe under the BNSF railroad tracks in Old Town was failing during a routine camera inspection in late 2020. Staff was already planning to replace the undersized pipe and expedited engineering and planning work soon after they discovered the pipe failure. Once installed, the new 24-inch line will be much more effective at preventing ponding.

City staff and our design consultant are still working through the initial screening process required by BNSF Railway, which will have to approve a permit before construction can begin. After Sunday’s drainage incident, staff reached out to BNSF to advise the situation and pursue quicker processing of the permit necessary to replace the pipe.

Construction is expected to start later this year.

How to handle roadway flooding

It is never safe to drive or walk into floodwaters, which may be deeper and stronger than they appear. Just one foot of moving water can carry away a small vehicle, and six inches of moving water can knock over a person.


Published May 17, 2021