For years, Austin’s Waller Creek has been beset by severe flooding, erosion and water quality problems. When completed, the Waller Creek Tunnel will remove over 28 acres of downtown land from the 100-year floodplain.
The Waller Creek Flood Control Tunnel Project will consist of a stormwater bypass tunnel that will address high priority flooding, erosion and water quality problems along lower Waller Creek, which are identified by the Watershed Protection Master Plan. The mile-long tunnel will safely convey floodwaters by capturing and redirecting floodwater from Waterloo Park to Lady Bird Lake. This project will create an opportunity to restore the creek and revitalize the Waller Creek District.
The Waller Creek Tunnel will protect lives from the dangers of flash flooding, remove more than 28 acres of downtown from the floodplain, protect 42 structures, 12 roadways and create an environment suitable for redevelopment. The Waller Creek Conservancy is playing a key role in transforming Waller Creek into a vibrant, livable and workable district. Additional benefits include:
The new bridge over Waller Creek on the Butler Hike and Bike trail, completed April 2011
An adaptive source of baseflow in the creek that will enhance the ecological habitat along the creek
Reduced litter and trash in the creek
The Waller Creek Tunnel Project consists of four separate construction projects. While the tunnel reduced flooding during the storms in May 2015, rain from the storms also bypassed the tunnel and ran down the creek itself. This is because a dam that should prevent storm water flowing into the creek was only partially completed at that time. Additional flood components include:
Waterloo Park Inlet Facility – In progress
The purpose of the Waterloo Park inlet facility is to divert flood flows into the tunnel and remove trash and debris from Waller Creek. It will also recirculate water from Lady Bird Lake back to Waterloo Park inlet facility to create a constant water flow in the creek.
4th Street Creek Side Inlet – In progress
The 4th Street inlet diverts storm water into chambers that filter the trash and debris before entering the tunnel.
8th Street Creek Side Inlet – In progress
The 8th Street Creek side inlet will divert additional flows coming into creek downstream of the Waterloo Park and collect trash and debris.
Tunnel Outlet – In progress
The tunnel outlet facility is where the tunnel water discharges into Lady Bird Lake.