Drivers along Southwest Parkway in Wichita Falls may soon have a smoother ride. The McNiel Drainage Project has reached the halfway point.
“We started this project last July,” Jeff Hill, Storm Water Engineer.
Nine months into the project, they are waiting to stripe the intersection with markers, but they have to wait until the streets are completely dry.
“The moisture always creates problems for us,” Hill said, “I mean, they're working down there in the mud.”
Once the weather dries up, crews can finish phase one by marking Southwest Parkway at McNiel and by completing two handicap ramps. Then they can reopen the intersection, which they hope to do by May 4
Traffic congestion was one of the reasons why they gave the green light on the project, but that's not the main reason. The real purpose behind the construction is to fix the drainage system on McNiel.
“The biggest problem is if we get a half inch of rain, this street would be six inches deep at the center line,” he said.
This puts residents in danger of flooding and since they aren't technically in a FEMA flood zone, they aren't required to have flood insurance.
Initially the project was expected to take a year and a half to complete, but with the strides crews have been making, Hill believes they can complete it in 14 months. This would put the end date sometime in September.
“Moffett to about Stearns is one of the phases and then we'll go from Stearns up until Abbott or Pool. You know, depending on how the contractor is working,” he said.
The street lights will also be changed to LED lamps to be more energy efficient. So, there is still a lot of work to do, but crews and city officials know they are on target.
“We've got a lot of projects out there on the books that we're trying to build as the money gets allocated,” Hill said.
The cost of the project is $6.5-million and will be paid for by the storm water fees that the residents pay.
Residents in the area are excited that the project might be finished sooner. They said it will be nice to not hear the construction going on, but they are glad that the drainage system is being fixed.