A new Dallas flood control plan to be discussed by City Councilmembers this week may push completion of a drainage relief tunnel as late as 2024 and no sooner than 2017.
The relief tunnel for the Mill Creek and Middle Peaks Branch drainage areas east of downtown has been in the works for several years.
The Dallas City Council endorsed it in 2008 after a severe March 2006 flood that swamped the area around Baylor Medical Center along with many surrounding neighborhoods and several Dallas freeways.
"It happened really, really quick,” said Paul Levatino, owner of a town home near the hospital. "The flood came probably in a matter of like 30, 45 minutes where it raised about three feet in this area."
Drywall and doors on the first floor of his home had to be replaced, and the car in his garage was totaled, but Levatino said he had no flood insurance for the $20,000 damage he sustained.
"Absolutely not. They told me I didn’t need flood insurance when I bought my place 3 months before the flood," he said.
It turns out old Mill Creek once flowed directly beside his town home before it was paved over many years ago.
The new plan, to be discussed at Wednesday’s Dallas City Council meeting, would extend a deep relief drainage tunnel proposed for his area east of downtown to include the State Thomas neighborhood north of downtown.
But the city is around $200 million sort of funds to complete the project and voters would be asked to approve more money in a new bond referendum, likely to be held in November.
The earliest completion date for the new tunnel is now set at 2017.
An option to spend less money at first would divide completion of project in phases but add to the total cost and delay completion until 2024.
Paul Levatino worries another flood will come before the city’s solutions.
"They said every 5 to 10 years we should have a flood like that. We are due for another one," he said.