Dickinson to install high water warning system for underpass

This photo posted on social media shows the underpass in Dickinson flooded, a vehicle engulfed in the water.

Whenever Dickinson gets a good amount of rain, the underpass floods. Often, people try to drive through it anyway.

Just six days ago, pictures surfaced on social media of cars in the underpass engulfed in water.

One user commented, "Come on Dickinson, it's time to come up with a solution for this."

Now they have.

The Dickinson City Commission approved the purchase and installation of a high water warning system by Tapco for $21,025 at its meeting on Tuesday.


Public Works Director Gary Zuroff said flood is a common problem with underpasses in general.

"Normally when they design an underpass, you design your storm system and your drain system to a certain amount ... of rainfall. When you get a downpour ... that system just isn't designed to handle that amount of rain in that short of time," he said.

This new system will warn Dickinson drivers when the water in the underpass reaches a certain level.

"This includes the level indicators and two signs that will flash when the water gets high," Zuroff said.

The signs will read "HIGH WATER- ROAD CLOSED WHEN FLASHING" and will be placed at both the north and south entrances of the underpass.

Some motorists drive through the water not realizing how deep it is.

"Any time with flooding, especially if it's on an incline, it's hard to determine how deep it is, so you have to be careful. With water in it, it looks somewhat level, but you don't know the depth of that water," Zuroff said.

The high level indicators will also connect to the city's Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system, which monitors the city's water, sewer and wastewater systems.


"We can real-time see what's going on there. We can see what pumps are on, what levels we have in the tanks, the alarms," Zuroff said.

Commissioner Suzi Sobolik asked Zuroff whether or not installation costs were included, as the project summary of the contract states that "system installation labor" is not included.

Zuroff said he was under the impression that they were coming to install the system, but that he would double check.

"You could make the motion contingent on the information being confirmed by the company," advised city attorney Christina Wenko.

Sobolik made the suggested motion. Commissioner Nicole Wolla seconded the motion. The three commissioners present approved the motion unanimously.

The following day, Zuroff was able to confirm that Tapco will assist with the installation, but that the city will need to help them.

Kayla Henson is a former Dickinson Press reporter.
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