University of Kentucky project aimed at reducing flooding where two women died in 2006

myoung@herald-leader.comJune 18, 2014 

Nearly eight years after two women were sucked into a storm drain and drowned at the intersection of Nicholasville Road and Alumni Drive, the University of Kentucky is building a water detention system to alleviate flooding in the area.

The $12 million project began in early April and is expected to be completed in April 2015, said project manager Keith Ingram. As part of the project, UK is removing a parking lot at the entrance to the Greg Page Apartment Complex and replacing it with a new lot that will be built on top of a water detention basin now under construction on Alumni Drive.

In 2006, UK pharmacy student Lauren Fannin and UK nursing school graduate Lindsay Harp were killed while attempting to walk across a flooded Nicholasville Road near Alumni Drive. Emergency crews later found Fannin and Harp less than half a mile away alongside the swollen Big Elm Fork stream.

Nearly $9 million for the project is coming from a Federal Emergency Management Agency hazard mitigation grant. Ingram said details about the drowning deaths of the two women were part of the grant application sent to FEMA.

The remaining amount was provided by FEMA in exchange for the university guaranteeing that certain land will be used solely for flood mitigation.

Storm water runoff in the area will be collected through a drainage system and stored in large basins underneath the parking lot on Alumni Drive. The storm water will be held in the basins for up to 24 hours before being released into the Big Elm Fork Watershed of Wolf Run Creek.

A portion of the Big Elm Fork stream will be relocated as part of the project. Ingram said the stream bed, which flows year-round, will be moved north away from the property line seperating UK and homes adjacent to Shawnee Place. This will require the relocation of gas, electrical service, and sewer lines.

The culvert which runs under Nicholasville Road also will be upgraded.

When complete, the relocated stream will be lined with hundreds of trees and serve as a passive green park without recreational facilities.

Matt Young: Twitter: @mattyoungnow.

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