North Huntingdon working to create flood-prevention plan

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North Huntingdon officials are formulating a plan to prevent flooding in the Jacktown Acres section of the township.

Michael Turley, the township's assistant manager, said an analysis over the past few years looked at potential fixes ranging from enlarging culverts to adding retaining walls.

After the analysis, he said, officials determined the plan that would provide the most benefit for the lowest cost involves converting part of Lions Park, off Robbins Station Road, into a stormwater detention basin. During heavy rain, that basin would take on some water from a nearby creek to prevent flooding, he said.

The project is still in the planning and design phase, but the township expects to put a contract out for bids next spring.

Mr. Turley said it might be possible to use fill from an on-site hillside to build embankments, which would reduce cost, but an engineering analysis must first confirm that the soil is appropriate for that use. Once that is completed, the township will check with the Department of Environmental Protection to ensure there won't be any permitting issues before putting it out to bid.

Once the township gathers the bids, the board of commissioners will award a contract.

Zachary Haigis, commissioners vice president, said most commissioners are interested in funding the project and will consider applying for grants. The work is expected to cost between $180,000 and $200,000.

Once the project is completed, Mr. Turley said, eight structures in the area will be completely outside the floodplain, and other nearby homes should see reduced flood damages during major storms.

He said a cost-benefit analysis showed that for every $1 of the project's cost, residents will save $3 in damages to their homes.

Although part of Lions Park will be converted to gather stormwater, it will still function as a park and multiuse facility, Mr. Turley said.

neigh_east - neigh_westmoreland

Annie Siebert: asiebert@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1613. Twitter: @AnnieSiebert.


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