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Officials consider plan to alleviate Jacktown Acres flooding

| Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012, 8:52 p.m.

North Huntingdon officials plan to seek bids to turn Lion's Park into a temporary stormwater detention facility in the hope of preventing flooding in Jacktown Acres.

Although it could keep several homes from suffering severe flood damages, it comes with a $342,000 price tag, according to assistant manager Mike Turley.

Officials hope to build an earthen berm around the edges of the park, which would keep storm water from running downhill into Jacktown Acres and nearby McKee Road, Turley said.

“We've been looking at ways to reduce costs since $342,000 is a substantial cost,” Turley said.

“The main item is the cost of the earth to build the berm.”

The project's biggest expense is the fill, which costs about $150,000 to $200,000, Turley said.

Instead of purchasing fill to construct the berm, Turley suggested working with developers throughout the township to claim excess dirt or excavating it from a wooded area in the park. Before settling on the fill from the park, Turley said, officials would have to conduct several tests, to make sure it is suitable to stand up to the excess storm water.

“If we could secure fill and work with some contractors, we think we could get it in the $180,000 range,” Turley said. “That's substantially less than the original cost of the project.”

Turley said officials have not been able to secure any grant money to help cover the costs of the project, which would remove 10 of 18 homes in the area from the township's flood-damage list, Turley said.

Township officials developed the plans with Andy Banfield, a senior engineer from Sewickley-based PVE Shreffler, to design the plans.

Flooding along McKee Road and in Jacktown Acres is caused by the area's relatively flat topography, which affects nearby Roth and Abrams drives, Banfield said.

Installing a storm-water detention area in the 600-acre Lion's Park, near Robbins Station and McKee roads, along with installing additional catch basins, culverts and flood pipes, would address some of the area's flooding issues.

Turning the park into a stormwater detention area would require crews to build a berm around it, and install a valve to let the water drain gradually. The system could reduce storm water flowing into the neighborhood by 10 to 35 percent.

Township manager John Shepherd said officials could move forward with the plans once the commissioners make a funding decision.

He said officials could be ready to begin working on the project in the spring if funding is in place.

“The project is just going to sit there if we don't make a decision on where to go, financially, with it,” Shepherd said. “We're to a point where the project is ready to go.”

The commissioners gave Shepherd and Turley permission to move ahead with testing, and plan to seek bids for the project over the next several months.

“It's time to get moving with this,” Commissioner Tony Martino said.

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8626, or bpedersen@tribweb.com.

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