Originally created 06/26/04

Roadwork strives to end floods



If this week's thunderstorms had dumped more rain near the West Lake subdivision, it's likely Stevens Creek Road would have flooded - again.

The Columbia County street is notorious for having to close near the Reed Creek wastewater treatment plant during downpours.

County officials hope two improvement projects in the area will stop the flooding problem even though they will mean a portion of the road will be closed to traffic for about five months.

Electronic signs went up Friday, warning drivers of the impending closure just north of Ironwood Drive, which will start next Friday morning, said Shari Mendrick, a project manager with the county's engineering and environmental services department. She also said detour signs would be erected early next week..

One of the projects that will be done in the coming months is to elevate Stevens Creek Road by 9 feet and install a stormwater drainage system. At the same time, work will be done on a diversion canal about 500 feet downstream of Stevens Creek Road, directing stormwater to the Augusta Canal.

About 75 percent of the $3.5 million projects is being funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the county is paying for the rest through stormwater utility funds, said Pam Tucker, the county's emergency services director. The county is facing a FEMA-imposed deadline at the end of the year to finish the work.

She said drivers will likely feel inconvenienced by the closure, but the work should finally correct the flooding problems in that area.

"We don't have to deal with it anymore," she said. "They're saying five months - you also have to consider any weather conditions that could delay it - but that's the goal."

Part of Furys Ferry Road also will be closed next week. A road closure for the intersection of Furys Ferry and Twin Lakes Drive will take place between 8 a.m. Monday and 5 p.m. Friday. Drivers will not be able to enter or exit Twin Lakes Drive.

The intersection work is part of the ongoing widening of Furys Ferry and was extended because of bad weather this week.

Reach Vicky Eckenrode at 868-1222, ext. 115, or vicky.eckenrode@augustachronicle.com.