Heavy rain washes away creek bank
Sandbags now line a lengthy section of Elm St. where at least 30 trees and several feet of riverbank, right up to the curb, have fallen into Luta Creek.
Kansas Department of Transportation experts last week examined the erosion.
Area road superintendent Kevin Jirak, Marion area engineer Joe Palic, and KDOT geologist Neil Croxton got involved when Marion public works director Marty Fredrickson contacted Palic to request the agency’s assistance.
Water from heavy rain May 25, flowing through broken and missing sections of curb, washed out a large portion of creek bank.
“That tree, it’s gone 15 or 20 feet down the bank,” Palic said while surveying the site.
The men looked at the edge of the street, walked down a slope south of the newly opened ground to look at the bank from that angle, and then crossed the street to examine a gully leading to the river from the east.
Croxton said he would make suggestions, but decisions about what to do would be made by the city.
“We’ve discussed several options,” Croxton said. “We will try to find solutions that are affordable but permanent.”
Palic said Croxton had evaluated six creek slides in a 17-county area.
Croxton said he would probably suggest sheet piling — laying sheets of durable material held in place by posts driven into the ground; extending dirt fill west into the creek itself.
“We’re going to recommend more sand bags along the street to try and stop any more water from washing down it,” he said.
Croxton’s final recommendations will be made after consulting geotechnical engineers in Topeka.
“Instead of spending public funds unwisely, we are seeking the expertise available before we take any actions toward a permanent solution,” city administrator Roger Holter said.
Holter has requested federal flood control assistance through the Natural Resources Conservation Service Emergency watershed protection program.
“They will be sending an inspector and engineer on June 5 or 6 to assess the situation and begin the engineering process for restoration,” Holter said. “They have the true experts to assist in this type of bank stabilization effort that is required.”
Holter hopes to get matching funds for the project through the Cottonwood Valley Drainage Board, which gets property taxes for maintenance in the channel.