Alabama 261 flood mitigation project to start soon

By Briana Harris / Staff Writer

PELHAM – The Pelham City Council approved the low bid of $1.14 million from Birmingham-based Forestry Environmental Services for the construction of the Alabama 261 Drainage Improvement Project at a meeting on Sept. 6.

The City Council also authorized the mayor to enter into a $91,700 agreement with Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood for construction engineering services and supervision of the project.

City Council President Rick Hayes said the project might begin in October. Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood architects estimated that the project would take 120 days to complete, but the contract allows up to 180 days.

The project was first initiated in 2007 and gained traction in 2008. The city applied for the FEMA grant in 2009.

“Former Mayor Don Murphy petitioned FEMA for flood funds, so the Don Murphy administration deserves all the credit,” Waters said.

Detention ponds, connected by a low-lying tract of land called a swale, will capture and store rainwater runoff and drain it in a titrated fashion so that it does not overwhelm the drainage system.

Hayes said the detention ponds and swales are intended to be dry except for during a rain event.

The city has already torn down five houses and cleared those lots in the Saddle Run neighborhood to make room for the detention ponds. The city is working with Forestry Environmental Services to make deductions from the bid since the city completed some of the work themselves.

The total cost of the project is $2.06 million, with the Federal Emergency Management Agency contributing 75 percent of the funds for the project, which equals $1.54 million. The city is responsible for paying 25 percent, which amounts to $515,375.

At the end of the meeting, Waters proclaimed Sept. 17-23 as Constitution Week. Phoebe Robinson, of the David Lindsay Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, said Sept. 17 marks the 229th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution.

In other business, the council:

-Authorized the settlement of the Alabama Furniture Market tax refund litigation.

-Appointed Christina Camp to the Pelham Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.

-Reappointed John Hooper and Johnnie Johnston to the Pelham Storm Water Regulations Board.

-Accepted a donated vehicle for the Pelham Police Department.