(COLORADO SPRINGS) — Four years and $4.6 million later, one of Colorado Springs’ biggest stormwater projects is in its final weeks of completion as of Monday, March 13. The mayor, nearing the end of his term, now calls it one of his crowning achievements.

The North Douglas Creek Channel Restoration Project began in 2019 after extreme erosion was at risk of causing severe damage to roads and properties. Mayor John Suthers was at the site on Monday morning and spoke about the unseen impact this project will have.

These preventative measures are hard to appreciate. City leaders explain that with flood control, people don’t know what could have happened, because it has already been prevented.

What the North Douglas Creek Channel Restoration Project did, was prevent I-25, Senton Road, and nearby properties from crumbling into the creek. Along with that, it will prevent major flooding, while also improving water quality and detention.

In 2013, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducted an audit, which pointed out serious issues within the City’s storm system. This project is now the last site to be completed from that audit.

“We will have one of the best, if not the best water system in Colorado in a very, very short period of time… The better job you do on stormwater, the more recreational amenities you’re able to water for,” said Mayor John Suthers.

Construction began in July of 2022, at a cost of $4.6 million, which was funded by the City’s Stormwater Enterprise, Colorado Springs Utilities, and a FEMA Grant. From start to finish the project will have taken four years.

“I think sometimes people think of capital projects, and they look at two or three years as a long process, and that’s actually not that long,” said Richard Mulledy, the stormwater enterprise manager for Colorado Springs, explaining that a project this big can become complex.

“We designed these structures to have a design life for about 50 years,” said Mulledy.

This project finishing up in the eleventh hour of Mayor Suther’s eight-year term, which ends in the next couple of months.

“As I look back on my tenure as mayor, I frankly think this is one of the things I’m most proud of,” said Suthers.

Stormwater isn’t something the average citizen knows too much about, which meant he had to draw from his political caliber, in order to get the citizens of this City behind a project like this.

“It takes political leadership to educate the voters that it is a problem…. You have to convince them that they ought to care about it, why they ought to care about it, and how they could fix it. and we’ve done that and I feel very good about that,” said Suthers.

Suthers says because of how he has implemented stormwater infrastructure into the city, it doesn’t look like improvement will stop anytime soon.

“I don’t think the next mayor is going to have any choice!” said Suthers.

Crews have to be done with this project within the next couple of weeks. The project manager on-site told FOX21 that while it isn’t impossible, they will have to make sure they are keeping on schedule in order to get this done on time.