CRV council examines drainage issues

By : 
Scott Bestul

With the flooding events of this past winter/spring fresh on their minds, the City of Rushford Village (CRV) Council examined even further measures for mitigating future damage at its Aug. 6 meeting. In addition, the council discussed road issues related to recent weather events, as well as trash pickup contracts, and the resignation of Councilor Richard Smith.

Engineering studies address recent flooding events

Bolton & Menk engineer Derek Olinger told the CRV council that his firm’s recent engineering study had zeroed in on drainage issues related primarily to the capacities of road crossings at State Highways 43 and 16 as they passed through the village boundaries. Olinger presented slides illustrating these areas, noting that the culverts there were “too small and placed too high” to address water capacities noted in recent months.

Olinger said that inadequate culverts were only partly to blame for recent high-water issues. “To improve drainage capacity in the area, would involve deepening the ditch, as well as installing a 36-inch culvert that would lower grading there by approximately two-and-a-half feet,” he said. Olinger noted that he is working with the state Dept. of Transportation (DOT), that might coincide with improvement projects that the DOT is already planning for the area in 2022-23. Mayor Johnson asked if the upgrades could be “looked at as shared projects?” To which Olinger replied, “Are you anxious enough to do something about this right now, or wait until 2023, when the state already plans for improvements? It’s kind of up to them, but realistically it’s a fairly small chunk of their overall project,” he said.

South of the highway, Olinger said that recommendations include upsizing driveway culverts, and deepening the existing ditch.” Grading the ditches along Sherwood Street would encroach on the yards of existing landowners,” he noted. “The city would need to communicate with landowners regarding approval or extension of existing easements. We’re trying to maintain 4:1 slopes, but this might entail encroaching 20 feet into their property lines. We’re basically into their yards.”

Olinger noted that construction of two swales, located west of Sherwood Street and extending into an agricultural field, could be built to divert runoff from the affected area. He also pointed out that flooding between Sherwood and Whitmore Streets has presented ongoing problems that could be mitigated with a new culvert and shallow swale that could cost the village over $350,000. Regarding drainage issues associated with Goodrich Street, Olinger recommended filling a portion of the ditches located on the south side of the road, and installing a storm sewer that includes curb/gutter features and a catch-basin.

Lowering the existing culverts and grading ditches near the intersection of Goodrich and Whitmore Streets could alleviate draining concerns in that area, Olinger said. While curb-and-gutter installations have been considered, that project seems cost-prohibitive compared to simpler solutions, according to Olinger. “We’re basically fighting grade here,” he said, “which is pretty much flat.”

In the problem area of Highway 16 and Meadows Lane, Olinger noted that elevated culverts and existing grading practices make the area difficult to deal with. He suggested increasing the size of, and lowering, the existing culvert and installing a check valve to prevent backflow from the existing structure. This is a difficult and expensive option, he said, as the price of culverts increases with size, and further costs will be realized with augering beneath the road to install the culvert. As the council discussed these possibilities, Mayor Johnson wondered about the purchase of a portable pump to deal with high-water events. While Olinger said that was a possibility, he cautioned that the six-inch pump suggested by Johnson might not be able to keep up with some rain events.

Finally, though the village council would consider it a project separate from the above, consideration is being given to install curbing to direct the flow of water near the intersection of Goodrich Street and Meadow Avenue. Projected costs of this project would be $16,000, according to Olinger.

Road issues

Road conditions are still a major concern for the council, with rural roads presenting most of the problem. Public Works Director Scheck has been dealing with trouble spots as needed, but poor road conditions are widespread and occasionally severe. Council members have taken photos of many spots to document damage and file reports with the county, which will then forward the reports to the state for possible assistance and/or reimbursement of repair costs.

The council discussed cooperative time/labor/equipment sharing with neighboring townships that have also experienced road damage. This subject has come up in previous meetings, where the council agreed that mutual assistance was beneficial to both parties, though proper logging of labor hours and machine use was necessary.

Vacant council seat

Mayor Johnson noted that he’d received a formal resignation letter from Councilor Richard Smith, who has recently moved from the village. The board voted to accept the resignation, and then agreed to advertise the vacant seat on the council. Citizens interested in filling Smith’s position are encouraged to contact the village hall. 

Schedule

The next meeting of the Rushford Village City Council will be held Tuesday, August 20 at 7 p.m. All members of the public are encouraged to attend.