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County focuses on resolving drainage problems on roads

By LES BOWEN
Sun Advocate reporter


Carbon County Commissioner Bill Krompel discusses with Brad McCourt, a county road department supervisor, the condition of the foundation of a bridge on 2000 East which spans an unnamed wash in Spring Glen. Prompted by residents who have been flooded by moderate to heavy rain storms, county officials have agreed to address flooding and drainage issues in the area.

Homeowners living on roads subject to regular flooding around Carbon County may see some relief as commissioners look for ways to counter drainage failings on certain roads.

Last week, the commission heard complaints from residents in the Spring Glen area and developed a plan to fix that road as early as next spring.

At the Sept. 20 meeting, county lawmakers agreed that there are other areas around the county which may need similar work.

"This is not new to any of us," said Commissioner Steven Burge, who made a visit to Spring Glen to see the drainage issues created after a moderate rain.

Flooding issues have come to the commission regularly in recent years. In some areas such as along Carbonville Road, new construction is expected to help keep drainage problems to a minimum.

Carbonville Road is one of the most widely used roads which the county maintains.

As part of the new construction, curb and gutter are going to be installed along both sides of the road and sidewalk on the west side.

A series of drains and culverts will convey water, which previously collected on the sides of the road, away from the area and toward the Price River.

Commissioner Michael Milovich said he favored curb and gutter in areas like Spring Glen, where ditches have disappeared and roads have become water channels.

Prior to a few years ago, irrigation ditches helped convey water away from homes and businesses.

In recent years, those irrigation ditches, which ran along the sides of roads have disappeared as irrigation water has been pressurized and piped. Instead of being channeled away through irrigation ditches, water finds its way into driveways, sidewalks, porches and basements.

Flooding similar to that experienced in the Spring Glen area is common in Carbonville, Westwood and south of Price near the Circle K subdivisions.

There are roads in each of the areas in question where the county needs to address flooding issues, said Commissioner Bill Krompel.

While Spring Glen residents had come to the commission meeting expecting to address the question of whether to create a flood control district, a more immediate and final solution came out of discussions with the county officials.

Krompel reported that he was already looking for funding sources that could be used to finance construction to correct flooding issues.

Krompel emphasized the fact that the county needs to develop flood plans where the guidelines are applicable and address the associated drainage issues.

More than a year ago, residents in Carbonville faced the same drainage issues as those in Spring Glen and other areas of the county. Along with expanding the road to three lanes, county officials included curb, gutter and drainage pipes to address the need to convey water away from traffic.

The commissioner pointed out that one of the funding resources is the Carbon County Recreation and Transportation Special Service District.

Krompel explained that there are thousands of dollars of unallocated funds in the special service district coffers.

By state law, the special sevice district must either spend or earmark at least 75 percent of the agency's total budget.

The special service district has more than the allowed 25 percent left in its budget, said Krompel.

The commission indicated that now is a good time to approach the service district board about getting funding for some of these types of projects.

Since roads are involved, Krompel said the special service district could likely fund all or part of the construction needs around the county relating to drainage.

The commissioner continued by explaining that he was already listed on the agenda for the district's next meeting on Oct. 2.

Once the funding is earmarked, the county should look at advertising for construction designers, said Krompel.

By the number of landowners involved and affected by the flooding, Spring Glen is at or near the top of the list for the county to address.

Krompel's plan is to get a design for Spring Glen completed in winter 2006 and bid the project for construction in the spring.

"The goal is to solve the problems as best as possible for Spring Glen residents," said Krompel.

In the interim, county officials agreed to help find temporary solutions in the Spring Glen area.

Homeowners at the commission meeting last week presented county officials with an array of problems related to flooding.

The commissioners acknowledged that, until now, the approach which has been taken with regard to drainage issues has been to place a bandage here and another there. However, in solving a problem for a handful of homeowners in one area, the bandage approach does little more than transfer the problems to a handful of others down the road.

By looking at the overall problem and finding a solution that corrects most or all of the drainage issues in an area, commissioners hope to stop taking the bandage approach.

"It's got to be done," said Milovich.

Whether or not the county has the funds available, the issue needs to be dealt with and corrected in the long term, reiterated Milovich.






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