November 20, 2019

Engineers hired to study Madison creek wall damage - Daily Leader Extra : Top Stories

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Engineers hired to study Madison creek wall damage

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Posted: Wednesday, October 30, 2019 2:43 pm

Three sections of the rock walls that line Park Creek in central Madison were significantly damaged by mid-September flooding, and city commissioners this week hired engineers to survey the structural failures and offer some preliminary designs for repairs and/or improvements.

Madison's city commissioners approved a contract with Banner Associates, a South Dakota engineering firm, to have engineers survey, perform damage assessments and organize a preliminary design package.

Chad Comes, city engineer, said the Banner engineers should start their work before the first snowfall, partly so they can provide accurate cost estimates.

Comes said the engineers will study three Park Creek sections:

-- 50 feet of the creek bed north of N.W. 7th St.

-- 200 feet of the creek bed between N.W. 5th St. and Egan Ave.

-- 40 feet of the creek bed between Egan and Harth avenues.

Banner engineers have divided the workload into three phases. The first phase involves surveying in which workers will study the land elevations and property lines and perform property research. The second phase will document physical damage such as scouring along the creek bed and undermining of the rock walls.

The third phase will include preliminary design work on repairing the rock walls to their previous condition and an alternative design that would improve the robustness of the rock walls.

The engineers will provide cost estimates of the preliminary design plans and perform a cost analysis over a 75-year period of the historical-based repair work and the alternative wall design.

Comes said the engineers would take a "comprehensive look" at the damaged areas.

"We're also considering alternatives that are not as expensive as previous work," Comes said.

According to Comes, city officials would have to take into consideration Madison's historic district and private ownership of some land along Park Creek.

Comes told the commissioners on Monday that Madison was likely eligible for funding assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to repair the rock walls. In the past, the federal government has provided a 75% share of repair costs with state government providing 15% and local government providing 10%.

The cost of the three phases of the engineering work totaled about $101,500. Jennifer Eimers, city finance officer, said Madison has the funds available in its general fund.

Commissioner Mike Waldner expressed his support for efforts at repair and modernization of the rock walls, which date back to the 1930s. Waldner asked if the engineers would consider building the walls higher due to previous flood events that have occurred in Madison. Comes said that higher walls were a possibility.

Comes said he was also talking with officials from other federal agencies about the options for repairs and renovations that the city has regarding the creek walls.

Commissioner Jeremiah Corbin asked if the costs related to paying for the Banner Associates report could fall under reimbursable expenses supported by FEMA funds. Comes said yes.

The Banner engineers are supposed to complete the survey and damage assessment by Dec. 20, to start on the preliminary design work by Jan. 6, and to submit the design work by March 31.

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