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$8.6M Oakman project to reduce street flooding, basement backups in Detroit

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

Detroit — Oakman Boulevard will get a $8.6 million makeover to reduce street flooding and backups in basements, officials said.

They also said the work is the city’s largest investment in green storm water infrastructure to date.

Under the two-year project, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department will convert 10 of the boulevard's medians into bio-retention gardens to keep an estimated 37 million gallons of storm water out of the city's combined sewer system.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan

“We made a commitment to the residents of the Aviation neighborhood that the city would take measures to help protect their homes,” Mayor Mike Duggan, said in a statement. “What DWSD is doing here will use nature, instead of storm sewers, to manage huge amounts of storm water to help reduce street flooding and basement backups.”

Oakman's medians between Joy Road and Tireman will be turned into bio-retention gardens. The area experienced significant street flooding and basement backups in the past, most notably during rainstorms in 2014 and 2016.

The project will also replace water mains and lead service lines, officials said.

Duggan said the project also is an example of “Detroiters rebuilding Detroit.”

Detroit-based Blaze Contracting is the primary contractor on the $8.6 million project. The contractor will be required to meet Duggan’s executive order that 51 percent of the hours worked during the project will be performed by Detroit residents. Failure by the contractor to meet this requirement will result in fines from the city of Detroit’s Civil Rights and Inclusion Office.

The city's water department has installed 16 green storm water infrastructure projects in the past six years, which manage 24.5 million gallons of storm water annually.

cramirez@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @CharlesERamirez