Highland Avenue and Walnut Street Flood Mitigation Continues

Tuesday, August 6, 2013 - 9:05am

Work that began in 2003 to alleviate street flooding on Madison's West side will be completed this fall. The result of the four-stage project will be better traffic flow during and after storms.

As many residents and commuters may know, Highland Avenue and Walnut Street repeatedly flood during large storm events. This occurs for two reasons. The topography in this area is an enclosed depression meaning it does not naturally have an adequate storm water outlet, and the existing storm sewer system, installed in 1925, is not large enough to manage the volume of water draining to this area during large storms. Since 2003, the city has been working to solve this problem by installing a series of large storm sewer pipes intended to augment, not replace, the existing storm sewer. Previous projects have installed pipe between Campus Drive and Willow Creek, and between Highland Avenue and Grand Avenue.
The fourth phase of this installation is occurring this summer. An 8-foot diameter pipe is currently being installed along the southern boundary of Campus Drive, between Highland Avenue and Octopus Car Wash. This project will install the last phase necessary to reduce flooding in the Highland-Walnut area.

"I know this has been a frustrating area for residents and commuters in Madison," said Mayor Paul Soglin. "I am really encouraged that work that has been ongoing for ten years will greatly reduce street flooding in the area."

The pipe is being installed by use of a tunneling system instead of excavation. The tunneling installation requires large pits at three locations along the length of the pipe. These pits are currently open at Highland Avenue, Walnut Street, and Campus Drive.

The overall project should be completed in early September, and will result in reduced flooding at Highland and University Bay intersections with University Ave. Traffic impacts due to the project will begin to improve in late August, when Highland Avenue and Campus Drive are reopened to normal traffic patterns.


  • Katie Crawley608-266-4611