Johnstown uses study to show it is addressing issues

JOHNSTOWN —The city is utilizing a hydraulic and hydrologic study released last year as a way to demonstrate to the state it is addressing certain water and flooding issues.

The city in September 2014 hired Greenman-Pedersen of Babylon, Suffolk County, for $56,000 to do the study.

The study, released publicly in early 2016, involved Comrie Creek, Hale Creek, Hall Creek, Caleb Creek and their watersheds, in addition to a study of drainage issues on Glebe Street and East Fourth Avenue. The study found various deficiencies at the city’s culverts, many of which are undersized and aging.

City Engineer Christopher Vose said Monday that study has been used to demonstrate to the state that Johnstown is tackling certain hydrologic issues.

“Basically, we’ve used that to apply for other grants,” Vose said.

He said nothing specific is planned at this time to be done during 2017, as an immediate recommendation from the study.

But some of the hydraulic and hydrologic study was used by the city as background information to apply for Bridge New York grant money, he said.

As part of the state Department of Transportation Region 2 Bridge New York Program, the city was recently awarded $550,000 toward replacement of the West State Street Bridge.

“We want to show the state of New York that we put the money in on this,” Vose said.

Other problems with bridges in the city include the Townsend Avenue bridge, North Chase Street Bridge and the Miller Street Bridge.

Vose has said the North Chase Street Bridge — built in 1926 — is wearing down and rotting from the inside out. The bridge spans Hale Creek. An internal report done by the city engineer’s office two years ago estimated a cost of $735,000 to replace it.

The hydraulic and hydrologic study has given the city potential infrastructure work to consider for years ahead.

“Several recent flooding events have resulted in the necessity for the city to perform a detailed study of the city’s stormwater conveyance network,” the report said. “For many years, heavy rains have caused severe flooding and property damage to many residents within the city of Johnstown.”

The report noted the city had a 2011 flooding “event” that “overwhelmed the city’s infrastructure, sparking awareness that the structures along each of these … stream reaches are undersized and, therefore, insufficient for handling floodwater flows.”

By Patricia Older

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