University Avenue Flooding the Result of Heavy Rains.

June 26, 2013

Nearly a week of rain has resulted in saturated ground conditions and surface water levels approaching the 100 year flood stage on Lake Monona. These conditions combined with approximately three inches of rain this morning resulted in surcharged storm sewers. The City responded to numerous reports of covers being blown off of storm structures from the force of the water in the pipes and areas of street flooding.

University Avenue was particularly hard hit by the latest storm. Inbound and outbound lanes between Ridge Street and N. Blackhawk Avenue were shut down to traffic this morning due to street flooding. Village of Shorewood Hills and City of Madison Police and Fire Departments directed commuters around the affected area while crews from Dane County Highways and City of Madison Streets and Engineering cleaned debris from the roadway, medians and sidewalks. Initial reports indicated that this flooding was the result of a sanitary sewer overflow. City of Madison Engineering, Madison-Dane County Public Health and Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District staff investigated and determined that this was not the case and that the flooding was the result of excessive storm sewer flow that overwhelmed the storm sewer system. Retail shops on both sides of University Avenue in this area experienced first floor water damage.

The City is in the midst of a multi-year, long term plan to reduce flooding in the University Avenue area. The phase currently under construction is installing a $4.8 million 96" relief storm sewer between Highland Boulevard and Walnut Street. This project utilizes a boring machine to tunnel large segments of the storm sewer pipe, eliminating the need for traditional open cut methods which would be difficult due to the depth of the pipe and more disruptive to commuters, residents and local businesses. Future phases will extend this relief sewer all the way to Shorewood Blvd where the flooding occurred today.

  • Greg Fries, City Engineering, 608-267-1199