The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is working with the City of Indianapolis to construct a levee on the City’s north side. Upon completion, the levee will protect the Broad Ripple, Warfleigh, Meridian Kessler and Butler Tarkington neighborhoods.
The levee will be constructed in three sections —South Warfleigh, Warfleigh and Monon-Broad Ripple sections. The project segments are hydraulically linked, necessitating construction of all phases in order to successfully protect and remove approximately 2,400 properties from the 100-year floodplain. In addition, the project includes installation of an in-river flood warning system and environmental mitigation related to the project construction activities.
The Warfleigh Section (Phase 3A) completed in 2004 consisted of the construction of a 7,600-foot floodwall/levee on the existing Warfleigh levee. This section of the project covered rehabilitation of the existing Warfleigh levee between Kessler Boulevard West Drive and North College Avenue. The completed work included excavating a 20-foot wide construction surface on the existing levee, construction of approximately 7,070 linear feet of floodwall, 530 linear feet of earthen levee, approximately 7,600 linear feet of toe drain, and seeding and landscaping. The existing Warfleigh Pumping Station, located along this section of the levee, underwent a substantial rehabilitation as part of this phase of the Indianapolis North project.
The South Warfleigh Section (Phase 3B) is comprised of earthen levee and concrete floodwall protection. The levee system is approximately 5,800 feet in length.
The Monon-Broad Ripple Section (Phase 3C), extends from North College Avenue to high ground just upstream of the intake of the Indianapolis Water Canal. The Broad Ripple portion of this section extends approximately 1,500 feet from College Avenue, along the south side of 67th Street, to the existing Monon East Levee. The Monon portion of this segment extends approximately 3,200 linear feet across the existing levee and ties into the roadway embankment of Westfield Boulevard. From the southeast side of Westfield Boulevard, the project parallels both Westfield Boulevard and the White River to high ground near the intake structure of the Indianapolis Water Canal. A key component of the project was modification of the Citizens Water Canal intake gate structure. The modifications integrated the intake structure into the flood works, thereby safeguarding the operation of a major drinking water supply system component for the public.
Area Flooding History
Flooding has occurred periodically on the White River in Indianapolis. The March 1913 flood, a 500-year event, is the flood of record for the White River in the Indianapolis area. Major floods also occurred in 1937 and 1943. In the period from 1953 through 2002, there were four significant flood events on the White River. The April 1964 flood was the largest in this period. The 1964 flood was slightly larger than the January 1991 flood and is estimated between a 15-year to 20-year flood event.
The most recent flood event of significance occurred in January 1991 when flooding, estimated at a 15-year flood event, forced evacuation of 500 homes in Marion County and caused extensive property damage. The flooding interrupted utility services to thousands of homes, damaged numerous roadways impairing access to the public, and resulted in several life threatening injuries. During this flood, water came through and under the Warfleigh levee. Engineering studies conducted in response to this flood determined that the existing levee would breach before it was overtopped. This would create a catastrophic situation, possibly resulting in loss of life, since there would be little or no warning.
Since the 1991 flood, there have been additional flood events occurring in May 2002, July 2003, January 2005 and, most recently, January 2007. During the January 2007 event, the river remained above flood stage for a period of eight (8) days.
Significant White River Flood Events in Indy