Culvert Replacement To Close Berlin’s Flower Street

BERLIN – Flower Street will be closed for two to three weeks as work begins to replace a culvert to address stormwater concerns.

Beginning Dec. 5, Flower Street will be closed so crews can remove the existing culvert along the Hudson Branch and replace it with a larger one. The project is expected to alleviate flooding in the area and improve water quality.

“The culvert installation will have a tremendous impact,” said Darl Kolar of EA Engineering, the town’s stormwater consulting firm.

According to town staff, the Flower Street culvert is undersized. During heavy rains, the culvert is overwhelmed and water instead pours across Flower Street. To address the issue, the town had a new culvert made. It’s three times the size of the existing one.

The project is expected to cost $285,000, according to Town Administrator Laura Allen. She said Flower Street would be closed between two and three weeks as the existing culvert was removed and the new one installed.

“They’re working out a detour plan now,” she told the council Monday.

She expects one lane of the road to be open as crews finish up site work.

Allen said the town was doing what it could to warn residents of the pending road closure.

“We’re using the CodeRed system to let residents and business owners know about the road closure as well as posting updates on the town’s website and Facebook pages,” she said.

The culvert replacement is the second stormwater project the town has initiated in the Hudson Branch area of Flower Street. Earlier this fall, a new off-line wetland was created behind the town’s multi-purpose building. During heavy rains, it will provide overflow from Hudson Branch with a place to go. The excess water will be able to flow through the wetland area and be absorbed by plants there.

Kolar told the council it was already proving effective. While the town hasn’t received a major rainfall event since the wetland was created, there has been one moderate rain.

“We thought we saw relief with that,” Kolar said. “We didn’t see any flooding on Flower Street. It’s always nice to see something actually function the way it was intended.”

Mayor Gee Williams said that was encouraging to hear, as the town was still in the midst of addressing all of its stormwater concerns.

“I think our general approach is once these priority areas are complete we’ll experience a major storm that will test what we’ve got and see what refinements are needed if any,” he said.

Williams pointed out that working on stormwater projects was still something new for the town. Berlin’s stormwater utility was only created in 2013. Williams said the town was simply tackling the areas most prone to flooding one by one.

“It’s all new to us,” he said. “I think what I want to emphasize is we want to make sure we’ve got these areas as tame and workable as possible and then move on to other priority areas.”

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.