Chippewa Creek flood reduction project underway

by Dan Holland

Construction work for a project aimed at alleviating flooding conditions in a neighborhood along West Wallings Road, which includes Briarwood Drive, Echo Lane, Twin Oaks Drive, portions of West Ridge Drive and the surrounding areas, got underway in earnest during October and November.

The $8.25 million project, managed by The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District as a component of its Regional Stormwater Management Program in conjunction with the cities of Broadview Heights and North Royalton, received a notice to proceed in August 2016 as part of the Cuyahoga River South Stormwater Master Plan and a notice to proceed for pre-design in September 2019.

According to the NEORSD website, substantial completion is expected in May 2025, with final completion in late September 2025.

“Broadview Heights is chipping in $1.5 million in construction costs on the project, plus using their stormwater funds and also a portion of their community cost share funds,” explained NEORSD Watershed Team Leader Anne Schilling. “North Royalton paid in part to lower their sanitary sewers in the local basin in their city. It was a partner project with both cities.”

Preliminary work at the site, which began in August, consisted of building access points, establishing construction staging areas and erecting tree protection fencing, said Schilling. Tree felling could not begin until Oct. 1 due to ODNR regulations concerning endangered bat species that nest in the region from April through September.

“The project includes elements to increase the stormwater storage volume in the neighborhood to reduce flooding potential, including modifying and expanding an existing detention basin, restoring 1,220 feet of stream with an expanded floodplain and daylighting 325 feet of culverted stream,” explained former Broadview Heights City Engineer Gary Yelenosky. “In addition, a basin will be constructed at the end of Echo Lane as part of the local stormwater system improvements.”

“They’ll also be replacing and upsizing local storm sewers to help alleviate the flooding and creating increased local stormwater storage upstream,” Schilling added. “They’re also replacing large culverted stream segments.”

The project necessitated NEORSD to engage in 36 property transactions that included fee-simple acquisitions, temporary easements and permanent easements. The city of Broadview Heights acquired six partial property easements in the neighborhood tied to the project. 

During the project, which will be carried out in phases, residents can expect increased truck traffic along with some amounts of dust, mud, machinery noise and other elements typically associated with a construction site, but disruptions are intended to be kept to a minimum, according to Schilling.

Ward 3 Councilman George Stelmaschuk, who did not seek re-election for 2024-2028, said the project has been needed for decades. “There were several floods during my 18-year tenure with the city,” he said. “Each time, I took pictures and sent them to the sewer district, urging them to make a fix. I’m glad to see it finally moving forward.”

“These residents have experienced street flooding to the point where they couldn’t drive on the roads,” said Schilling. “Many residents have been getting water back up in their basements, and this will hopefully eliminate that as well – that was a big issue, along with stormwater storage management. It should increase safety as far as road access and access for emergency vehicles during heavy rain events.”

The city partnership on the project with NEORSD has been a smooth process so far, said Schilling. “It’s been a really good relationship working with Broadview Heights and getting the project agreement executed with the sewer district,” she said. “They have been very flexible and have worked with us; they want to see this project get done as well.” ∞

Photo: This project aims to increase the stormwater storage volume in the neighborhood to reduce flooding potential. Photo by Dan Holland