Village drain project start nears

By David Fleet
Goodrich-Final design for village drain project that was approved more than five years ago could begin as early as January.
That’s the word from Sue Hogan, senior engineer of the of surface water management for the Genesee County Drain Office on a renovation of a century old village drain system. An estimated 100 village parcels could be impacted by the project.
“The field work is completed, the easements have been acquired, plans are complete with the utility companies impacted,” said Hogan. “The state permit from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has been received. Sometime this fall bids will be sent out so a final cost can be determined. It’s one of the last steps before we can start. ”
Hogan said the newly repaved Erie Street will not be torn up for the project.
“The construction will be weather dependent,” she said. “We will be working around utilities so it takes more time. There are layers and layers of utilities around some very old pipes. Some (of the pipes) were installed in the 50s some are from the 1800s which will need replacement.”
The planned work is on the Wheelock & Watkins Drain—an agricultural drain built in 1897 and which encompasses a large section of the village. The old drain under the jurisdiction of Genesee County has been one possible cause of flooding of several residents’ homes over the past few years. About seven years ago, the flooding intensified, prompting village officials to engage the county drain officials to investigate the issues. As a result, petitions were signed and in a special meeting on April 9, 2013 at the village offices, a board of determination voted 3-0 to move forward with an upgrade to the Wheelock & Watkins Drain.

By law, the drain commission must move forward with the project in a timely manner.
Hogan added that all villages roads and residents in the drain area. Part of the drain will go though the (Commons) park on village property or the street right of way. It’s a cost and time savings to go though the park where village streets are not torn up. There are a lot of pieces that will affect the budget of this project. When the project is completed a more reliable, consistent and efficient drainage system will be in the village.