A planned Olmsted County stormwater project has been delayed a week.
Work was slated to start Monday on a project to address flooding issues near the county’s 2100 building along Campus Drive Southeast.
The flooding in front of the 2100 building has been an issue for both Olmsted County employees and clients for about 20 years, said Matt Miller, the county’s director of facilities and building operations.
“Technically, on the south side of the 2100 building, there is one catch basin; one location that takes all the water from essentially one-third of our campus, and that one pipe is only about 8 inches,” he said. “The stormwater pipe in that section is just too small; so, when we get a lot of rain, it floods. Sometimes it gets so bad that we’ve had people with water on the floors of their vehicles.”
Work is now slated to start next Monday, with the first phase occurring on the north side of Collegeview Road and a second phase planned for the south side adjacent to the Rochester Community and Technical College Campus.
The first phase is expected to be completed by Oct. 15, with the second phase wrapping up by the end of November.
Work will stretch from the county’s 2117 building to the bus shelter on the west side of the 2100 building, but most work is expected to occur in front of the 2100 building.
“Residents will be affected,” said Miller, who noted Campus Drive will be closed as work is being done. “There will be contractors there and construction happening. It will create a short-term parking inconvenience because people do park on the street and in that east parking lot.”
Miller said available parking exists at all other Olmsted County government campus buildings, and parking stalls are generally first-come, first-served. Additional parking options have been identified on the county campus, as well as across Collegeview Road.
The project comes as the county is preparing to reconstruct Collegeview Road, also known as County Road 9, next year. Miller said the stormwater project will complement the future efforts with the planned addition of a sidewalk for improved access to the county buildings.
The most noticeable sign of the planned work came earlier this year with the removal of trees along the street.
Miller said the cleared space will be used to create a “swale” or a “rain garden,” which is essentially a depression that holds water. The water will ultimately travel through storm pipes under Collegeview Drive, through the soccer complex, and eventually run off into a nearby lake.
“Physically digging the rain gardens required those trees to come out on both the east side and south side of 2100,” Miller said.
He said the wood is being harvested for either a new nature center at Oxbow Park or to be sold for the purchase hardwoods for the nature center.
Because there are proposals for additional parking and buildings on the Olmsted County campus, there are no immediate plans to replant more trees at this point.
“We don’t want to plant any trees now that would need to be removed as part of these other upcoming construction efforts,” Miller said. “However, our long-term goal is that once these construction projects around campus are completed, we will plant some more.”