© 2019 - Paid for by Vote No - There's A Better Way Committee; David Williams, Treasurer

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Stormwater Unmet Needs Could Total $140 Million

Over The Next 10 Years

A stormwate pipe unde Holliday Drive in the summer of 2016.

A deteriorated stormwater pipe which runs underneath Holliday Drive near I-435 was relined as an emergency repair after a partial collapse in the summer of 2016.
Photo courtesy the Shawnee Dispatch and City of Shawnee.

Over the next few weeks, you will be hearing about a few of the numerous unmet needs Shawnee is facing. These are things various city department heads have brought to the governing body as things which are needed across the city.

This week, we’re going to highlight unmet stormwater needs. You will find links to the sources cited in this article below our post.

In 2016 the governing body doubled the stormwater fee from $3 to $6 per month for homeowners. Stormwater fees vary by the size of the land parcel, meaning businesses, schools, and churches pay significantly more than most homeowners in Shawnee.

At that time, the Shawnee Dispatch reported the city was facing $114 million in stormwater needs, with 179 miles of stormwater pipe. The Dispatch reported that 60% of those pipes had already exceeded their life expectancy.

A steel plate coves the road where a stormwater pipe has failed.

A large steel plate covers a dip in the pavement in the intersection of 65th Street & Larsen Lane. The pavement began to collapse following a failure in the stormwater pipe below the roadway. Shawnee officials say this intersection will be closed for up to 10 days for repairs, April 8-17.

On Tuesday, April 2, Public Works Director Doug Whitacre updated the city council committee on the 20-year strategic plan for stormwater by stating that the city should expect stormwater pipe repairs to outpace funding.

“These numbers are indicating that Shawnee could need $99 to $140 million in repairs over the next 10 years,” Whitacre’s memo to the city manager says.

Whitacre informed the council committee that the city currently has 185 miles of drainage pipe, 57% of which has already exceeded its life expectancy. Just over 101 miles, or 56%, of the stormwater pipe network, consists of corrugated metal pipe.

The city has 224 pipes (5.24 miles of pipe) with a level 5 rating. The memo item states that a level 5 rating means the “asset has failed or will likely fail within three to five years. Require immediate attention.”

Replacing all level five pipes would cost an estimated $11.2-14 million according to Whitacre’s presentation.

A failed stormwater pipe under te intersection of 65th Street and Larsen Lane.

A failed stormwater pipe under the intersection of 65th Street and Larsen Lane. The steel support structure of the concrete pipe is visibly bowed and concrete has broken off, falling into the pipe.

In the past five years, the city has seen five arterial roadway failures due to the collapse of corrugated metal pipes.

This year, the city will be addressing six deferred maintenance projects, deferred meaning maintenance has been postponed to save costs and meet available budget funding levels.

Of those six projects, Whitacre’s memo informed the council committee, “Four projects are located beneath major road corridors where repairs are necessary to prevent catastrophic arterial road failures.”

Those four projects are Renner Road at (under) Shawnee Mission Parkway, Blackfish Parkway at Hauser Street, Widmer Road at Johnson Drive, and Quivira Drive at Park Street.

It is the belief of the ‘Vote No – There’s A Better Way’ committee that our city’s unmet needs are significant and these needs are being downplayed by city staff to push this proposed $38 million community center proposal (total cost of $54 million after interest on the 20-year bonds) — a matter of wants versus substantial needs.

We believe there is a better way.

A slide from a Public Works Director Doug Whitacre highlightig costs to current an future needs in the city's stormwater system.

One slide from the April 2 presentation from Public Works Director Doug Whitacre, highlighting costs to current and future needs in the city's stormwater system


- July 26, 2016, Shawnee Dispatch – Shawnee City Council approves mill levy increase, stormwater fee change: http://www.shawneedispatch.com/news/2016/jul/26/shawnee-city-council-approves-mill-levy-increase/

- June 2, 2016, Shawnee Dispatch – With Shawnee facing $100 million stormwater problem, fee and tax increases should be in play, public works director says: (also source for the photo of deteriorated stormwater pipe under Holliday Drive near Interstate 435)


- April 2, 2019, City of Shawnee Council Committee Agenda – Item 1. Stormwater Management Program Update: https://cityofshawnee.civicweb.net/document/21361

-April 2, 2019, Memorandum, Public Works Update – Stormwater Management Program: https://cityofshawnee.civicweb.net/document/21325/Public%20Works%20Update%20-%20Stormwater%20Management%20Pro.pdf?handle=AFDBFECE27C743B5BD35FF6A0117F625

-April 2, 2019, Stormwater Utility 20-year Strategic Plan 2019 update – Presentation: https://cityofshawnee.civicweb.net/document/21569/2019%20Stormwater%20Program%20Review%204-1-19_CC_Final.pdf?handle=6F4ED2A620224309B2059F28ED9EDF3B

-All other photos provided by the ‘Vote No – There’s A Better Way’ committee.

Contact info@BetterWayShawnee.com with inquiries.