Midtown Raleigh News

Raleigh studies drainage issues in Laurel Hills neighborhood

Relief could be on the way for Laurel Hills residents tired of stormwater that overflows into their driveways or erodes their yards in wet weather.

The city has hired a consulting firm to study drainage issues in a portion of the neighborhood, which is northwest of Crabtree Valley Mall.

Residents in the area have reported standing water in the road, wet basements and garages, roadside ditch erosion and other problems.

The neighborhood is an older one, and its problems aren’t unique, said Kevin Boyer, a project engineer in the stormwater utility division of the city’s public works department.

“Some folks might consider them more of a nuisance than a hazard, but of course it’s all in the eye of the beholder,” Boyer said.

The stormwater division fixes pipes, ditches and channels throughout the city as needed.

The approach in Laurel Hills is a bit different because the study takes a comprehensive look at a 218-acre area with about 180 property owners to see what system improvements are needed there in addition to spot fixes.

The neighborhood was built more than 50 years ago on Wake County land and was later annexed into the city.

The area has little stormwater management infrastructure, such as curbs and gutters, and some of the pipes and culverts may have been too small when they were originally installed.

There are also problems of age, from pipes stuffed with debris to cracks or poor connections, and changes in drainage patterns from filled-in roadside ditches.

The city, with help from the consultants, evaluated which problems originate with public right-of-way and came up with an initial list of recommendations for residents earlier this month.

The remedies could include a holding pond, new pipes and ditch improvements.

Boyer said the city still wants to hear from residents about other problem areas. Officials will eventually attach a cost estimate to each project and rank them. The highest priorities are safety concerns, followed by conditions that cause property damage.

Those priorities will then be weighed against other city infrastructure improvements.

“It’s making sure we’re being good stewards of the utility fees people pay,” Boyer said.

The stormwater division is available to make presentations to homeowners associations and other community groups.