Flooding in the M Streets in 2006 (Image courtesy of the City of Dallas)

Because Dallas built over what used to be creeks in East Dallas, the area often floods when heavy rains arrive. The Dallas Morning News reports that the City Council approved a $207 million contract to build a 30-foot wide tunnel 75-100 feet underground, which would relieve flooding in Uptown and East Dallas.

Mill Creek and Peak’s Branch are small waterways that run south through the M Streets and Old East Dallas toward the Trinity River and White Rock Creek, but the city put them underground in the early 1900s to make way for development. Because of increased density, the underground drainage no longer has the capacity to move flood water downstream.

Mill Creek before it went underground near South Haskell (Image courtesy of the City of Dallas)

A May 1995 flood caused $5 million in damage to the Baylor Hospital Emergency Room, and I-30 briefly closed. East Dallas, the M Streets and Baylor flooded again in 2006, damaging homes, businesses and schools in the area.

The five-mile tunnel will provide 100-year flood protection for the neighborhood, and will be built by a Roanoke company named Southland Mole. The 2006 and 2012 bond packages included money for the project, which ended up being less expensive than previously thought due to Southland’s ability to recycle rock pulled from the ground.

The project should begin in March and end by December 2022. Learn more about the history of Mills Creek, Peaks Branch and stormwater management in East Dallas here.

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