Failed pipe under railroad has Old Town Lenexa worried about more rain

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LENEXA, Kan. – People in Old Town Lenexa are watching the weather carefully this week. The area flooded during heavy rain over the weekend and could again.

The issue, an aging failed pipe, can’t be immediately fixed. That’s because it runs under the BNSF railroad.

Luis Ryfkogel heard Sunday’s heavy rains outside his home on Santa Fe Trail Drive.

“I came outside and I took a look over there because I started to hear some water pumps going,” he said.

But he was surprised by what he saw, a foot and a half of water all down the road and in business parking lots including the pumps of the gas station near the intersection at Pflumm Road. The city of Lenexa determined an aging 8 inch clay pipe would need replaced during a routine camera inspection in December, but up until that point it had been able to keep up with the drainage.

“In this case the issue is we had some foreign materials in the pipe and some failing of the pipe,” Tim Green, a Lenexa City Engineer, said.

“I think those guys worked on the flood for about 12 hours and about Midnight, 1 o’clock I heard cheers which I think was the workers finally able to get it unclogged,” Ryfkogel said.

They continued to pump out the water Monday, and have plans to install 100 feet of a much bigger 24 inch pipe. Problem is they are still waiting on permitting from the BNSF Railroad to put it in. The city is now hoping to expedite that process, but says it could be several months.

“The predictions in the weather for the next 1.5 weeks, if not two weeks to come definitely has me a little nerve wracked,” Ryfkogel said.

“We do have crews ready and available. If we do see ponding we’ll go out and pump again. A combination of the pumping and some of the drainage through the pipe we should be able to prevent some of the ponding that we saw,” Green said.

Green doesn’t expect any businesses and homes to flood in the surrounding area as a result. Structural flooding is actually pretty rare in Lenexa. Just last week the City got the state’s top rating for flooding, meaning Lenexa homeowners will get 25%t off their flood insurance.

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