The Richmond Register

Local News

June 4, 2014

Drainage project to dig up Water, Main streets

RICHMOND — Flooding on Richmond’s aptly named Water Street should be a thing of the past after an $9 million drainage project is completed late this year.

Most of the funds, 75 percent, will come from the Federal Emergency Management Agency with the city providing 13 percent, about $1.2 million, and state government paying the rest.

Traffic on Main Street between Madison Avenue and Collins Street will be detoured for three weeks in September when a trench is cut across the downtown thoroughfare.

The project will be noisy and dirty, Mayor Jim Barnes, who once owned and operated a downtown business, said at a Tuesday meeting to discuss the project’s impact on business. “But after it’s finished, it will be wonderful,” he said.

“Yes, but will we be finished,” Michelle Ratliff, owner of the Main Street Bakery and Cafe asked.

Other downtown business people who attended the City Hall meeting also expressed concern about the near-term affect on their operations.

Project managers will make every effort to limit the impact on businesses, said Steve Garland of Integrated Engineering.

While the Main Street trench is open, traffic will be detoured for one block to Irvine and Water streets, he said.

After the Main Street work is done, the project will move to Water Street, where a trench will be dug from near Madison Avenue to about the location of Pally’s Liquors, Garland said.

While the Water Street work is underway in late November and December, at least one lane of the street should remain open to traffic, except for brief periods, he added.

The engineer and city officials pledged to keep the public, especially business owners, informed and to work with them to minimize the project’s impact.

Not only is Water Street in a low-lying basin, it was placed over a group of natural springs that continue to flow, Garland explained.

The project is being designed to carry away ground, as well as surface water, the engineer said.

The hodgepodge of drainage systems installed over the past century, which were barely adequate when constructed, have deteriorated, he noted.

When the project is completed, Water Street and its southern sidewalk will be paved with tiles of pervious concrete, the engineer said.


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