Back to search results
  • Oldcastle Infrastructure, a CRH company, provided an end-to-end solution to modernise Tampa’s stormwater infrastructure systems.

  • Frequent and excessive stormwater runoff was overwhelming the city’s outdated drainage system, and the increasing frequency and intensity of storms was causing flooding, traffic delays, and toxic algae blooms known as “red tides” off popular beaches.

  • Solutions provided by Oldcastle Infrastructure across multiple phases of the city’s upgrade programme eliminated flooding, improved safety, and dramatically reduced pollution runoff, resulting in improved water quality, better quality of life, and brighter economic prospects.

CRH Americas
Product Type(s)
Infrastructure Products
Florida, United States

It’s easy to see why Tampa Bay, nestled on a peninsula along Florida’s western coast, is one of the fastest-growing metro areas in the United States. Its golden beaches, year-round sunshine, and booming economy have made Tampa the third most popular city among homebuyers relocating nationwide.

But managing this growth poses challenges. The Tampa metro area has more than tripled in size to 3 million people over the past 50 years. More roads, shopping centres and parking lots, combined with tropical rains and storms that deposit more than 50 inches (1.27 metres) of rain a year, have created more runoff. Some 44% of Tampa homes are at risk of flooding, a number that is expected to grow to 54% over the next 30 years. The runoff also carries pollutants like nitrogen and phosphorus into nearby waters, spawning harmful algae blooms known as red tides that impact tourism, recreation, fishing, and quality of life.

To address this, the City of Tampa embarked on a $250 million, multi-phased programme to upgrade storm-drainage infrastructure across the South Tampa peninsula. The centerpiece of this programme was the Cypress Street neighborhood in the heart of downtown. The historic district’s stormwater infrastructure was outdated and overwhelmed, leading to frequent flooding that shut down businesses, snarled traffic, and damaged electrical and communications networks. In 2020, Oldcastle Infrastructure was contracted to provide a modern stormwater solution for Cypress Street, having established itself as an innovative reliable partner in earlier phases of Tampa’s upgrade plan. The project highlights how CRH, as the largest building materials solutions business in North America, is uniquely positioned to solve critical infrastructure and construction projects across the continent.

Bringing in the stormwater experts
Having proven its capabilities and built a productive relationship with the city of Tampa over 10 years, Oldcastle Infrastructure designed and delivered a complete stormwater solution for Cypress Street that included more than a mile and a half of high-capacity culverts, along with treatment filters and customised curbs. Its unparalleled proficiency in designing and engineering stormwater systems, coupled with the ability to physically produce all the key components itself, uniquely positioned Oldcastle Infrastructure as the partner of choice for the city of Tampa.

The rising threat of tropical storms and hurricanes demanded that the new system handle not only the extreme weather events of today but increasingly severe ones decades into the future. That entailed upgrading the Cypress culverts from the previous 3-foot (0.9-metre) width to ones measuring 9 feet (2.7 metres) across, increasing flow capacity by 125% to nearly 1 million gallons (3.78 million litres) per minute. More than 1,300 of these precast box culverts, totaling 7,300 feet (2,225 metres), were installed.

See how our solutions come together to create an integrated stormwater system that captures, conveys, cleans, and infiltrates runoff back into the ground for future generations.

Expecting the unexpected
One constant in municipal infrastructure projects is that challenges are sure to present themselves from the first shovel of dirt. This was especially true given Cypress Street’s density and the age of its infrastructure. As a strategic partner to the main contractor, Oldcastle Infrastructure staff were on site throughout the entire installation to help solve any issues that came up. Buried under 100-year-old roads, the aging infrastructure constantly varied from the original schematics, presenting a constant stream of unique challenges.

The team took the surprises in stride. For instance, in some cases, a new culvert box couldn’t be installed due to an unexpected obstacle. Thanks to its offsite precast production process, Oldcastle Infrastructure would then design, make, and deliver a custom box in short order, allowing work to be completed on schedule while minimising disruption in the construction zone.

Less flooding, healthier waterways
The stormwater upgrades in Cypress Street and other parts of Tampa have delivered immediate benefits. The upgrades have eliminated flooding, improved safety, and vastly reduced polluted runoff that was a key contributor to the red tide algae blooms. The cleaner waterways and beaches are hugely important to the region’s tourism-driven economy. In its 2022 fiscal year, Visit Tampa Bay, the region’s tourism promotion agency, reported record-high tourism collections that jumped more than 56% over the previous year, and water quality reports in spring 2023 showed a significant reduction in red tides around Tampa and along the west coast of Florida.

Oldcastle Infrastructure brought its unparalleled capabilities to help deliver modern stormwater drainage systems throughout Tampa and continues to provide stormwater solutions to the city as it moves ahead with its multi-phased programme. Oldcastle Infrastructure’s long-term relationship with Tampa and deep local knowledge combined with global expertise all contributed to the continued growth and economic vitality for Tampa as a destination for businesses, families, and tourists while improving safety and quality of life.

Learn more about CRH’s capabilities and U.S. impact: CRH in the Americas.