In the past few weeks, crews finished up the main work on new storm sewer lines in the Highway 30 and Broadwell Avenue area of Grand Island. It turns out it was just in time for a record-setting rain. “Both Grand Island and Hastings had record rainfall during the 24-hour period yesterday, and Grand Island had 2.59 inches and that broke the record of 2.14 set back in 1967,” says Jeff Halblaub, meteorologist at the National Weather Service Hastings office.
Halblaub says 1.42 inches fell in Hastings, eclipsing the 1982 record of 1.25. Both measurements were taken at each city’s respective airport.
According to Halblaub, isolated storms passed through south central Nebraska in the late afternoon and evening dropping heavy rain amounts in some places, but he says it was the big line of thunderstorms that came through after dark that set the new June 14 records.
“That resulted in some very impressive rainfall totals, especially from Kearney County, northeast through Grand Island, then on up to the Fullerton area, where two to four inches of rain fell,” he says.
The rain served as another big test for Grand Island’s recently finished Highway 30 Drainage Project. The area around Broadwell Avenue, Second Street (Hwy 30), and Third Street is notorious for flooding in a storm.
“The Department of Roads was wanting the city of Grand Island to get moving on that drainage project so that when they widened Second Street, or Highway 30, the area around Broadwell Avenue would drain properly,” says GI City Project Manager Scott Griepenstroh.
Because of funding hang ups and other projects, the new sewer lines designed to funnel storm water into a detention cell at Broadwell and Division - where it stays so it can drain away more slowly - weren’t underway until last year. Construction halted over the winter, then finished up this spring. Water was standing at the east base of the Highway 30 overpass, along Second Street near Tilden, and in the Third Street and Broadwell intersection during the record rain. However, it drained fairly quickly during a lull in the storm. Griepenstroh says the problems aren’t completely solved, but has gotten better.
“There’s still issues up at Third and Broadwell because the existing storm sewer and drain inlets, they’re very low capacity, but the project did improve drainage in that area as well for relieving that,” he says.