Gadsden using millions to fix decades of drainage problems

Flooding in Alabama
Flooding in Alabama(WBRC)
Published: Feb. 16, 2023 at 5:20 PM CST
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GADSDEN, Ala. (WBRC) - City Engineer Heath Williamson says Gadsden has flooding issues in every district in the city. It’s a problem they’ve had for years and now they plan to use part of the city’s American Rescue Plan funds to fix it.

“We’ve got quite a few, unfortunately. Really spread all through town. We’ve got them in East Gadsden, downtown, and North Gadsden in the Tuscaloosa Avenue area,” says Williamson. “We’ve assessed these for years trying to really dive into the areas we know we’ve had for decades.”

Several of these flood issues come from the rain and aged infrastructure. Williamson says they need to update the equipment inside the city’s storm drains.

“Some of the old infrastructure just needs to be updated. We’ve got of course pipes that will deteriorate over time and collapse and require repairs. “We’ve got ditches that need to be dug out and regraded to flow properly”, says Williamson.

With Gadsden receiving more than $20 million in ARP funds, Williamson believes using some of that funding will get the infrastructure up to date.

“We hope to alleviate some of these long-term problems once and for all. Certainly, make them a lot better than they’ve ever been”, adds Williamson. “The status of those currently, we’ve completed a lot of the drainage studies for these areas. Several of them have already progressed into the design phase. There are a couple that is on the cusp of actually starting construction.”

He says places like East Gadsden already have a couple of drainage improvement projects that may start in the next few months with construction taking about three to six months to complete.

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