Heavy rains drain quickly
Port Aransans who remember the heavy rains of last year and the subsequent standing water on Alister Street may have marveled Sunday, April 27, at relatively dry streets after rains drenched the area.
A $2 million drainage project that replaced aging storm sewers along Alister Street from Beach Street to Brundrett and along Oleander Street did "a pretty good job" of carrying rainwater away, said Douglas Box, Port Aransas director of public works.
It was the first real test of the Oleander Street drainage project, which the city council ordered last year. Council members considered the project so important that they didn't wait for a bond election, but told City Manager Michael Kovacs to find the money in the city's general fund.
While motorists at Alister and Beach streets were negotiating water at about 2 p.m. Sunday, it wasn't standing water - it was flowing water, Box said. He said nearly all the water had drained away by 3:30 p.m.
Unofficial rain gauges in Port Aransas put the rainfall at up to four inches in the 2 ½ hours of precipitation. At one point, the rain was coming down at a rate of more than one inch an hour; however, that rate didn't last long.
"A rainfall that significant will back water up, no matter what you do," Box said.
Box said public works crews did put "high water" signs up at Alister and Beach streets, Roberts and Alister streets, and Avenue A and Alister Street, but those signs were only temporary.
Part of the standing water at Avenue A and Oleander Street was due to a separate drainage project which is laying storm sewers along Avenue A, Box said. He said crews haven't yet connected that pipe to the one running the length of Oleander Street and then into the city marina.
"I talked with someone from Island Construction (the contractor on the Avenue A project), and he said if they'd had one more week to work on it, that connection would have been made," Box said.
He said the public works department received no calls from residents complaining about standing water.
Box also credited city crews' work in cleaning out a concrete drainage ditch that runs south from Avenue A for helping keep standing water down.
"We have that ditch pretty well cleaned out, with no obstructions," he said. The ditch carries water from Avenue A to a wetlands outfall area south of Avenue G.
The city is also in the middle of bond projects that will improve and correct drainage problems in other parts of town. The most significant project going on right now is on East Cotter Avenue, where crews are working to improve drainage on the east end of the road and to install curbs and gutters closer to Station Street.