Frustration mounting over drainage issues in west Tulsa

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Reported by: Ian Silver
Updated: 4/04/2013 9:22 am Published: 4/03/2013 7:25 pm

The City of Tulsa reported there are several flood zones in Tulsa and it can only make curb and gutter repairs for now, nothing permenant.

A few days of rain across Green Country has helped the area's drought situation, but it has also caused flooding problems in a west Tulsa neighborhood.

A section of road was completely under water Wednesday at the intersection of W. 4th Pl. and 51st W. Ave.

About a month ago, City of Tulsa crews repaired a leaking water line at the intersection. But when contractors poured concrete back over the repaired line, it caused a dip in the road that kept water from being able to drain away. On top of that, the crew filled in a section of a drainage ditch that could have provided some relief. 

The result was an intersection with no way for water to drain. 

"[It happens] every time it rains," Larry Collins said. "Sometimes it's worse than what it is now."

The drainage problem is directly in front of Collins' house, which he's lived in for 54 years. But for the past few years he's seen standing water outside his home far too often.

"They've been trying to fix [the leaking water line] for the last two or three years," he said. "And they finally got it fixed."

But the drainage problem has only gotten worse since then. 

One vehicle after another had trouble passing through the small lake that formed, which, at some points, was about six inches deep.

"I've seen a few vehicles get stalled out here," Jerry Reeves, Collins' neighbor across the street, said. "Had a truck, same truck twice, got stuck out here and it stalled out."

Reeves has only lived in the neighborhood for a week, but he's already seen how frustrating the problem can be.

"It's hard to get around this area with, you know, that there," Reeves said pointing to the giant puddle. 

He worries the water will ruin his car, so he avoids it and goes around the block. 

Collins has the same concern, so he often has to drive six blocks out of his way just to end up on the other side of the water standing right in front of his house. 

As spring rains move in, both Collins and Reeves are worried the problem will only get worse. 

Both men blamed the city for causing the problem, and said it was taking too long to fix. 

"If it doesn't get fixed, the way I see it, it's going to flood more and maybe get into this man's yard or up to there, or even further out here into the street to where it's basically going to cut this whole pathway off," Reeves said. 

Collins was almost ready to take matters into his own hands after getting nowhere with city officials. 

"I told them I was going to do it myself if they don't do it."

But after FOX23 News alerted city leaders to the problem and frustration in the neighborhood, a crew was sent out immediately to create a temporary fix to the flooding problem. 

The crew cut back some of the newly-laid concrete to create a pathway for the water to drain into a nearby ditch. By late Wednesday afternoon much of the water had drained away, but not all.

City officials told FOX23 News that an engineer would be out to the area soon to design a permanent fix to the drainage and flooding problem.

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