Penn notes work on stormwater drainage issues continues toward resolution

By Martin Couch

Ever since Richard Penn took his position as City Engineer, stormwater drainage issues have been on the forefront of his mind.

At the top of the list in nearly every Bryant City Council meeting[more], Penn can now say that improvements to specific areas of most importance are being resolved.

Improvements to stormwater drainage in Forest Cove, Sunset Meadows, West Pointe, Springhill Acres, Springhill Manor, Sherwood Estates and Northridege subdivisions have been of major concern. And the first thing constructed to aid in the drainage was the construction of box culverts for a 50-year design flow in Sunset Meadows, which at times was the worst area of flooding.

A $340,000 bid was made for the design of drainage improvements specific to Westpoint at Independence Drive and Sedgefield Drive in 2008. Later, a grant for $394,780 was received by the city from the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) through Central Arkansas Planning and Development District (CAPDD) to reconstruct the street entrance for Forest Drive near Highway 5.

The proposed Forest Drive construction was to restore emergency vehicle access, while maintaining a 50-year flow in the area.

At that time, the city matched $18,084 and the cost of engineering from FTN of $30,500 was also a city expense. The grant was not based on flood damages.

Penn indicated in the last City Council meeting on Nov. 18, that bid documents and easements have been prepared. AEDC has approved the design and advertising for bids is the next step in the process.

Penn requested of the Council that approval for acquisition of easements on this particular project.

The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department placed the Highway 5 bridge replacement project on the 2010-2013 Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP). The STIP provides for construction to begin in 2011.

Since announcing its beginning of construction on Highway 5, the AHTD hosted a public meeting at Collegeville Elementary on Nov. 9 making the public aware of the project and soliciting public comment.

A grant application through CAPDD and ADEM for improvements to the stream section from Forest Drive to Ashlea Place and for Henson Place south crossing to Highway 5 is still being developed, according to Penn's report. The project is valued at $303,898 and available on a 75/25 basis.

That means the City will be responsible for a match of approximately $76,000. In September, the City Council approved to commit the 25 percent match for the project that would reduce flooding potential in the aforementioned area.

Penn indicated that a response from FEMA was being awaited.

The Augusta Cove drainage improvements low bid was $63,581.11, from Redstone Construction and that bid expired last May. The existing temporary culvert is in need of replacement with concrete pipe in order to stabilize the road and the estimated cost of concrete pipe for the street width only and paving materials was $15,000.

On Rodeo Drive, short-term improvements are complete and the city is ready to address the stream areas on the Dobbins’ property behind Smith and Larson to Boswell's property line. The City Council approved $5,800 for FTN to develop the design which also included coordination with Lex Dobbins.

As of late, the Street Department performed routine maintenance on the creek to remove debris.

Penn also reported on the stormwater drainage improvements for the Meadowlake area and Crooked Creek.

In July 2008, flooding potential in the Meadowlake subdivision was reduced by cleaning and channelizing portions of an unnamed tributary of Crooked Creeek, west of Shobe Road (Cox Canal).

After the AEDQ and the Corps of Engineers (USACE) Little Rock District guidance, on Oct. 8 of 2010, the Street Department completed excavation and relocation of a spoil levee running the full length of the project and completed the project ahead of schedule.

So far the FTN has organized the mandated restorative activity into three phases: 1. Tract owned by Curtis Ferguson west of Meadowlake; 2. The Wallace property which is a wooded area south of Meadowlake; and 3. The Williams hay field.

Penn would have had to ask for an extension to buy materials to fix the streambank in this area, which funding would come from the USACE and was set to expire on Dec. 31.

"I will be asking for a deadline extension based on a revised plan to be developed at year-end 2010," Penn said in his report. "Stormwater funding is required to proceed to the next phase of restoration in this area."

Penn also reported that Roger Dodd was preparing a Scope of Work for Crooked Creek from Reynolds Road area to a point near the city's pump station No. 5 on Shobe Road.

"This will allow analysis and recommendations for drainage improvements in Pikewood, Carywood, Raintree, Bryant Oaks, Image Oaks, Mills Park, etc.," Penn stated. "There is no schedule set for this study at this time."

The Street Department was scheduled to rebuild a fence for Wallace where stabilization measures were installed to secure it and FTN was preparing a Scope of Work for the area in Stoneybrook to Highway 5. The study would allow for development of a plan to decrease flooding potential in Stoneybrook.

Penn had plans as well to correct ineffective curblines at Monticello. He reported that grass has begun to grow effectively stabilizing the areas adjacent to the creek which was disturbed during levee/spoil removal.

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