9/30/2014

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More expensive construction for Tacoma's Stadium Way

More expensive construction for Tacoma's Stadium Way

TACOMA, Wash. -- The Tacoma City Council is expected to vote on spending more money to solve flooding problems near a street they just paid millions of dollars to renovate.

The city just spent more than $10 million to upgrade Stadium Way. Now more money is needed to fix the swamp that sometimes shows up on Commerce Street.

"We believe the area is flooding so intensely because of the fact that the storm intensities are increasing," said Mike Slevin, the city's environmental services director.

Slevin said the city designs its street drainage system to handle 25-year storms, but that infrastructure is getting overwhelmed by the fierce weather systems that have rolled through lately.

"What we saw at the end of the summer is three quick, fast, 100-year storm events," Slevin said.

City officials decided the fix would involve a $1.9 million dollar upgrade to give the storm water drains more capacity near the Spanish Steps and Commerce Street, where the worst flooding is occurring. KOMO News asked why this work wasn't done alongside the earlier $10 million road project, and whether this approach wastes the taxpayers' money.

Slevin says they normally plan for 25-year storms, but new calculations show better infrastructure is needed for more intense weather systems.

"If we would have identified (the added intensity), it may have been slightly cheaper," Slevin said. "But again, the majority of the construction project we are doing is downstream of the existing project."

As it stands, Tacoma will have to tear up about 40-feet of newly-laid pavement. City workers expect the added costs to be nominal, saying the contractor is giving them a great deal on the rest of the work.

The council is voting on the project Tuesday night.

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