by Dennis Dalman
One of Sartell’s busiest intersections, which can also be one of the wettest intersections, will soon be virtually flood-proof, thanks to a solution proposed by City Engineer Mike Nielson.
Pinecone Road at 1-1/2 Street often becomes flooded during heavy rainfalls. During a downpour in early July, with 2.14 inches of rain, that intersection, which is near city hall, became flooded between the hours of 6-7 a.m. At that time, city public works employee John Kothenbeutel placed an emergency call to Nielson, who came to the scene. The two men checked the water levels of the nearby Watab River, and they determined the flooding problem is not caused just be the river’s water level but also by undersized pipes that cannot adequately handle the rush of water in heavy rains.
City council member Steve Hennes noted flooding during rush-hour times can cause a lot of problems at that intersection. Nielson agreed.
The solution, he said, is to create a kind of invisible ditch on the property that runs near Pinecone Road on the city-hall property. Then, water at that intersection could flow from a catch basin south into the grassy swale, where it could remain to soak in for a few hours after a storm. The berm currently on the property will remain, and the swale will be merely a slightly depressed area that will hardly be noticed. Workers will still be able to mow it as if it were still flat, Nielson noted.
He said the swale will work well during flash-flood rains, which happen a couple times a year.
The city council authorized Nielson to prepare a more in-depth study of what will be needed to create the swale, including a cost analysis.