Sunday, June 5, 2011

Fayetteville transportation department to assign 5-man crew to work only on stormwater problems of immediate concern, delaying a few 'gentrification' projects awhile

Thanks to the Northwest Arkansas Newspapers for publishing the following break-through  article:

FLOOD REPAIR: Drainage Outlook Changes


Posted: June 2, 2011 at 5:54 a.m.
Updated: June 2, 2011 at 11:18 a.m.
— Spring floods that damaged streets, drainage and people’s homes will likely force the city to delay some of this year’s paving, sidewalk and trail work so more critical repairs can be made.
Members of Mayor Lioneld Jordan’s administration presented aldermen with 135 problem spots not immediately addressed following April flooding.
Terry Gulley, transportation services director, said he typically sees no more than a third of those calls for service at any one time.
“You just can’t get there quick enough,” Gulley said.
He estimated it would take the city’s five-member drainage crew 278 days to address all needs in the city, which include washed-out shoulders, clogged culverts and eroded ditches.
By reassigning three additional six-member crews to deal with those issues, Gulley hoped to trim the time needed to respond to service requests to three months.

Editor's note

Terry Gulley, Fayetteville transportation services director, said reassigning three six-member crews to deal with the flood-related damage would cut the response to all the service requests to about three months. This story has been modified from its original version to reflect that correction.
That change would mean a pushing back completion date for the university’s farm trail in north Fayetteville along with 40 road resurfacing projects and a dozen sidewalk construction projects.
“They’re projects that will still get done, they’re just not starting now,” said Don Marr, the mayor’s chief of staff.
“We believe that there was a greater urgency in resolving some of the potential drainage issues,” Marr said. “If I’ve had three feet of water in my house, I have a very different sense of urgency than walking on (a new) sidewalk.”


Fayetteville’s Priorities
The following items are listed as high priority in a chart of more than 135 calls for services to the Fayetteville’s Transportation Division.
Ward 1
  • 449 N. Assembly Dr., erosion under roadway
  • 1115 S. Baldwin Ave., house flooding
  • South Buchanan Avenue and North Stone Street, clogged ditches
  • East Hope Street, driveway flooding
Ward 2
  • 142 W. Cleburn St., clogged ditch and pipes
  • 685 N. Leverett Ave., sidewalk flooding
  • 970 N. Rush Drive, culvert collapsing
  • 980 N. Rush Drive, basement flooding
Ward 3
  • 1669 N. Charlee Ave., general flooding
  • 2690 N. Colette Ave., culvert and garage flooding
Ward 4
  • 824 N. Hall Ave., driveway flooding
  • North Jeremiah Place and West Emil Drive Street, buckling
  • 401 S. Lewis Ave., house flooding
  • 106 N. Palmer Ave., house flooding
  • 916 N. Sang Ave., clogged ditches and garage flooding
  • North Sang Avenue and West Ora Drive, street flooding
Source: Fayetteville Transportation Services Division
In addition, officials want to make drainage improvement a priority in the Transportation Division’s 2012 budget.
Marr and Chris Brown, city engineer, said, with multiple big-ticket road projects slated for 2012, such as improvement to Crossover Road, Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Cato Springs Road and Huntsville Road, it’s a good time to address drainage issues on residential streets.
“Maybe now is the time to back off of our local overlay and sidewalk program and kind of give that a break so folks traveling on these roadways under construction don’t have to put up with construction in their neighborhoods as well,” Brown said.
Gulley estimated the material cost for the calls for service at $265,000.
A price tag for larger capital improvements in 2012 is unclear, but Gulley said one project, rechanneling an aging drainage system along Scull Creek that has caused significant flooding to homes near Maple Street, Walnut Avenue, Mission Boulevard and Olive Avenue, would cost more than $1 million.
Other targeted areas for improvement are the subdivision south of Rolling Hills Drive in north Fayetteville, a section along the Hamestring Creek in west Fayetteville and more than 20 other places that are typically the first to see flooding in heavy rain.
Crews will be looking at laying pipes, rechanneling drainage and building detention ponds to slow runoff.
“We’re looking at ways to slow that water flow,” Gulley said. “We don’t just want to pipe it all to the creeks.”
Jordan told aldermen Tuesday the temptation sometimes is to ignore infrastructure improvement in favor of construction.
“But, you know, when you're letting everything else fall apart, somewhere you've got to address that drainage,” Jordan said. “We’ve got to do this.”
Ward 3 Alderman Bobby Ferrell agreed.
“To me it’s a no-brainer,” Ferrell said. “One of the primary functions of city government is water, fire, sewer, drainage.”
“It looks to me like we have some major infrastructure problems,” he added.
In order to delay projects this year in favor of responding to open calls for service, the City Council must approve adjusting this year’s budget. That will likely be done at the June 21 council meeting, Marr said.

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