Rollingwood officials get update on infrastructure improvement plan

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Rollingwood Drive, the Bee Caves Road low water crossing, the Edgewood low water crossing—these are some of the preliminary areas of interest pertaining to an infrastructure improvement plan commissioned by Rollingwood City Council.

Civil engineering firm K. Friese & Associates provided council with an update on drainage and public flooding issues throughout the roughly 1 square mile that encapsulates the city of Rollingwood during a July 17 meeting.

K. Friese representative Joe Cantalupo said one of the first actions the firm took involved field work to get a sense of what the city was looking at, which helped pave the way for two-dimensional modeling.

“We also did a public survey and got about 100 responses,” Cantalupo said, adding a May public meeting on the study helped give the firm a bigger picture of the infrastructure situation and pave the way to create a list of preliminary areas of interest.

Property flooding is one of the larger issues reported by residents, according to the report from K. Friese, as several homeowners within Rollingwood stated their property floods every time it rains.

Some of the modeling from the study analyzes depths that facilitate flooding throughout Rollingwood, and Cantalupo said the data combined with other methods of analysis has helped paint a clearer picture of infrastructure work needed in the city.

“You start to see, at least through the eyes of the community, that not all flooding is the same,” Cantalupo said, pointing out prominent flooding areas of varying severity during his presentation.

The next steps for the K. Friese study include refining areas of interest, developing project concepts, creating high-level cost estimates, prioritizing projects and developing detailed concepts for the city’s top projects, among other initiatives.

Because elements of the study are based on 100-year flood plains, the report will also consider an updated national rainfall study called Atlas 14. That study has shifted the definition of flood plains, meaning they now or could soon cover more land throughout the country, which could have implications for Rollingwood’s infrastructure improvement plan.

“The way Atlas 14 was explained to me—when you look at the impact of rainfall in Texas, the 500-year flood becomes a 100-year flood,” Cantalupo said.

Information from K. Friese states project feasibility, impact and cost will be calculated once project concepts are developed.

Cantalupo said K. Friese is aiming to have more drilled-down project concepts by September, and cost estimates along with a solidified infrastructure improvement plan to present to council by October.

“I hope the public shows up en masse for this,” Mayor Michael Dyson said of K. Friese’s next presentation to the city. “Because it is critically important to the city.”

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Brian Rash
Brian has been a reporter and editor since 2012. He wrote about the music scene in Dallas-Fort Worth before becoming managing editor for the Graham Leader in Graham, Texas, in 2013. He relocated to Austin, Texas, in 2015 to work for Gatehouse Media's large design hub. He became the editor for the Lake Travis-Westlake publication of Community Impact in August 2018.
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