Little Rock District takes huge step in project planning

Published Sept. 17, 2013

The City of Springfield, Missouri, experiences damages from flash floods along Jordan Creek. The area along Jordan Creek is heavily urbanized and includes extensive infrastructure associated with both commercial and industrial areas.  A wide variety of management measures to address the flood risk were developed, evaluated and screened.

A team led by Laura Cameron of the Planning and Environmental Division took on the Jordan Creek Flood Risk Management Study.  This project was chosen as part of a pilot program that could possibly speed up the project planning and approval process.

“This project was different than the other projects I have worked on because it was a much higher profile project,” Cameron said.

Because this was a pilot project, communication and coordination was critical.  “There was a lot of coordination between our team and the vertical team,” she said.  “Since this was a pilot project we had to learn how to best facilitate coordination between the teams.”

Most project and study managers are usually working on more than one project.  For Cameron working on the Jordan Creek Project was a big change.  This was the only project she was working on. 

“I have never been able to devote myself to one project for such a long period of time,” Cameron said.  “We were able to do that because we were fully funded when we became a pilot project.”

By funding the project up front it allowed the team to aggressively attack the schedule throughout the project.

Fifteen plans were formulated for consideration, and in the final array two plans were closely compared for recommendation. The recommended plan includes flood risk management consisting of five detention basins and 2100 feet of channel widening.  This plan reduces 65 percent of the damages and includes detention basins in the upper reaches of the watershed and channel modification at the confluence of Wilsons Creek and Jordan Creek. 

The fully funded total project cost is estimated to be $21,900,000 with a sponsor contribution of $7,700,000 and a federal contribution of $14,200,000. The recommended plan has a benefit-to-cost ratio of 2.7 (at an interest rate of 3.75 percent).   The Office of Management and Budget uses an interest rate of 7 percent to budget items.  At 7 percent, the benefit-to-cost ratio of the project is 1.7.

The writing of this feasibility report piloted new pre-authorization processes under civil works transformation.  Overall the new process has been a huge success that shortened the study time and created processes for communication throughout the vertical team. 

Thanks to Cameron and her team the bar has been set for future projects.