Mitchell discusses flooding issue in Ward 2

By Martin Couch

A small bridge that goes up and over a deeply dug culvert, then plunges down to the level of the street isn’t the most easily accessible entrance from Highway 5 to Forest Drive in Bryant’s Ward 2.[more]

The small, high bridge was constructed to allow motorists a safer turning point from the busy highway into the sub-division, which was built on land associated with flooding waters years before. Less than 100 yards from the main entrance and over the bridge, there is a block wall constructed around the land of the homeowner for diversion purposes when floodwater rises above the level of the deep ditch.

This particular area has been a concern for Bryant Mayor Larry Mitchell for three years.

“We have spent over 1.2 million dollars in this area and it doesn’t complete everything we need to do,” Mitchell said. “When the tornado came through a few years ago, we had 46 houses that flooded and, this past major rain, we had, as far as I know, no single houses that flooded. A lot of people had water in their yards and maybe some of it got into their garages, but not their houses.”

The progress of depleting the flooding problem has been diminished considerably but, as a city, Bryant has used most of its reserve money to solve the problem.

“We don’t have a lot of money to address those concerns, but we have a grant we’ve applied for and we’ve been invited to do a formal application,” Mitchell said. “Usually, that means it’s a 100 percent sure that we will get it and that will go to this situation.”

When the grant comes through, Mitchell said that there will be additional culverts and the banks of the existing ditches will be re-sloped into the Sunset Meadows sub-division. The Arkansas Highway Department is supposed to replace the small bridge that connects Forest Drive and Highway 5 and rebuild the culverts in 2011.

“That’s going to be another huge part of getting the water out of those areas,” Mitchell added. “We think in less than a year, a lot more will go into taking care of those problems there. There is a lot of watershed drainage through that area, but compared to what it was three years ago, we’ve accomplished a tremendous amount.”

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