Marquette, county engineer follow up on Pleasant Ridge Road discussions

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By Audrey Posten, Times-Register

 

Clayton County Engineer Rafe Koopman last week followed up with city of Marquette officials on the feasibility of completing certain flood mitigation measures as part of the reconstruction of Pleasant Ridge Road from Marquette to the top of the hill.

 

The city and Clayton County Secondary Roads gathered public input for the project, which Koopman said is at least five years out, at a March 23 meeting. That night, Koopman said his goal is to make that stretch of road safer, while the city hopes to reduce flooding in its Twin Bluffs neighborhood.

 

Retention basins were one of the mitigation measures proposed, to help slow water as it comes down the hill. In recent years, large rain events have overflowed the ditches in the area and overwhelmed the storm sewer system, resulting in flooding. Debris exacerbates the problem, diverting water and causing hazards and damage.

 

Several locations were pinpointed for potential retention basins, but Koopman said at least one landowner is concerned with building a structure on their property. The same individual noted the soil is also sandy in that area.

 

“If it is very sandy soil, retention basins wouldn’t work anyway, without a lot of cost of bringing in the right material,” Koopman told the Marquette Council at its April 12 meeting. “We could proceed with still trying to do some retention basins, but we probably should do some soil bores to figure out if we’ve got the right type of soil. Or we could forget about that idea and you guys could come up with ways to mitigate your flooding once the water gets down here.”

 

Marquette Mayor Steve Weipert said the city has had mitigation measures engineered in the past.

 

“I feel bad for the people, and I do think we have a responsibility to find a way to fix that,” he said. “But the costs seemed astronomical for what your benefits were going to be at the bottom of the hill. You’re talking about spending millions.”

 

Weipert proposed running cables down some of the gullies to catch debris before it enters city limits.

 

“Keep the debris farther up and just the water coming down,” he explained. “Realistically, I think that would be an expense the city could cover and save us a lot of problems.”

 

As the roadway is designed, Koopman said the intent will be to let water come down more slowly. He’ll also look at spots where debris catchers can be installed.

 

Additionally, Koopman suggested mitigation within the city, including raising houses or lowering the street elevation in the affected area.

 

“It might be cheaper than building the retention basins,” he said. “And if there are not the retention basins involved, that kind of simplifies my project a little bit too.”

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