If you've passed Candler Lane in Madison, you may have noticed a large hole caused by the collapse of a storm drain pipe, putting the surrounding neighborhood at risk of flooding – a hole that could cost the city of Madison up to $300,000 Emergency repairs.
According to Madison City officials, on Tuesday, Jan. 9, following heavy rains, a stormwater drain pipe that was already in poor condition collapsed on Candler Lane, creating a deep and dangerous hole in the ground and future damage to the rest of the neighborhood endangered by flooding.
The mayor and Madison City Council held a special meeting on Friday, January 12, to address the matter and decided to give city staff the authority to move forward with repairs before further damage occurs .
City Engineer Aaron Wadley estimated that repairing and replacing the stormwater drainage pipe system would cost $300,000, but noted that the city could save at least $100,000 if city workers did part of the project in-house. Wadley presented a plan to replace the collapsed pipe with a thicker pipe made of high-density plastic (HDP), noting that the collapsed pipe was made of metal that had slowly eroded over the past 20 years.
“This neighborhood has been in trouble for a long time because the water supply has been problematic for years,” Wadley said. “I believe this is an emergency situation. If this project does not move forward now, structures could be at risk. And now there’s a huge hole in a small garden, so it’s a safety issue for children, the elderly and everyone else in the area.”
City Manager John Klimm emphasized the urgency of the situation to the Mayor's Council, noting that while the replacement project will be expensive, the city's liability could be 10 times greater if it is not carried out and causes even more damage.
“Right now we have a very temporary solution that could disappear at any time,” Klimm said. “If we don't fix this, it could have devastating consequences for multiple homes there, not just their yards, but their homes as well… Another storm could reopen that pipe and the consequences would be devastating.”
Wadley said that because the Candler Lane neighborhood was built “almost entirely on wetlands,” the stream sediment acted “like sandpaper” against metal pipes and eroded stormwater runoff until it became unstable and collapsed in the face of overwhelming stormwater.
Wadley has hired a local contractor who is ready to begin work on the replacement project as early as next week and will install the HDP piping to prevent such a collapse in the future. The old pipe was 48 inches wide, but the new pipe will be 60 inches wide to allow for better water flow in the neighborhood. Wadley noted that the replacement project will be extensive and will require “several truckloads of piping” to complete.
Klimm noted that this recent stormwater pipe collapse is just another example of why the City of Madison needs to move forward with replacing the city's aging stormwater infrastructure.
“That’s why we’re so desperate to move forward with a new stormwater ordinance in the city of Madison,” Klimm said, an initiative that city staff is currently developing in the planning stages.
The Madison City Council voted unanimously to allow city staff to move forward with repairs and will sign a formal contract for the project at the February regular meeting.
“And then go ahead and do what needs to be done,” Perriman said.