Officials study stormwater projects

Franklin wants to tackle 12 infrastructure projects that include rebuilding bridges, clearing out creeks and widening drainage pipes with the goal of fixing flooding issues that have damaged neighborhoods and businesses.

City officials will study the projects, which are estimated to cost more than $40 million, during the next two months. The work would address issues with creeks and drainage that have led to flooding in the city in past years. The goal is to help alleviate flooding problems and possibly allow some residents to no longer need flood insurance.

Any construction would take place during the course of the next 15 years, since the city does not have $40 million to spend on construction projects at one time. But first, officials need to decide what projects are needed most and how they would be paid for.

This week, Whitaker Engineering vice president Andrew Cochrane presented a draft version of a stormwater master plan to the Franklin Board of Public Works and Safety, which addresses the major drainage issues in Franklin. Problems were identified through the city’s past comprehensive plans and public meetings where residents shared where flooding regularly happens near their property.

One of the projects included in the draft plan provides solutions for problems addressed in 1997 that have never been completed. The majority of the projects look at fixing problem issues in and around downtown, including flooding on Cincinnati, Yandes, Forsythe and Water streets.

Members of the board of public works will meet one-on-one with Cochrane, the engineer helping to establish the master plan, to determine what the most important priorities are for the city. The board will then discuss the importance of each project, determine how to fund them and finalize the master plan. Not all 12 projects may be included in the final plan, Cochrane said.

Some projects are small fixes, like installing a storm drain for $118,000, while others would cost more than $1 million. Projects include replacing culverts, repairing eroded streambanks and repairing pipeline used in creeks.

City officials do not know where the funding will come from to pay for the projects, Franklin city engineer Travis Underhill said.

Most drainage projects are funded through stormwater utility fees residents pay or tax-increment financing, or TIF, district dollars that are set aside for infrastructure projects to promote economic development, according to the plan. Franklin residents currently pay $5 per month for the stormwater utility fee if they live in a single-family home, or $2.50 per month if they live in an apartment or mobile home.

Underhill said he hopes the plan will be approved by the end of the year.

The draft plan lists the potential projects in a timeline based on immediate need. One of the earliest projects replaces the current pipeline in Roaring Run Ditch with bigger pipes, to allow more water to flow and lead to less flooding.

The largest of the proposed projects, costing $20 million, would give rain a place to go during heavier storms near Hurricane Creek in a detention basin, which is like a pond that can hold a large amount of water. The basin would need to be built on 139 acres in an area near Paris Estates, and would reduce the amount of water in Hurricane Creek that flows toward neighborhoods near Interstate 65, according to the plan. The water in Hurricane Creek could be reduced by up to 50 percent.

Multiple projects involve replacing older pipes, culverts and tunnels that would eliminate the need for upgrading drainage and other infrastructure for another 100 years.

At a glance

Twelve potential stormwater projects are being discussed by Franklin. The projects include:

Hurricane Creek work

What: Removing and replacing the existing bridge at the railroad crossing, between State and Monroe streets, and replacing it with a longer-spanning bridge.

Cost: $7 million

Community Park drainage improvements

What: Install a drainage sewer to get water out of the park after it rains

Cost: $118,000

Restoration of outfalls, or discharge points at the end of streams, throughout Franklin

What: Restoration would be made to outfalls at the end of Hurricane Creek or Roaring Run Ditch.

Cost: $149,000

Roaring Run rehabilitation

What: New lining in the storm sewer pipeline and additional manholes for easier access for city workers.

Cost: $5,193,000

Roaring Run relief storm sewer

What: Build a new storm sewer to help with capacity issues in the existing sewer.

Cost: $1,671,000

Hurricane Creek flood mitigation and wetlands restoration facility

What: Build a 139-acre detention basin, which is similar to a pond, that would catch water during storms and reduce the amount of flooding downstream in Hurricane Creek.

Cost: $20,280,000

Canary Ditch flood mitigation and wetlands restoration

What: Build a detention basin, similar to a pond, near Commerce Drive to catch run-off water from Canary Ditch creek.

Cost: $3,806,000

Youngs Creek streambank stabilization

What: Remove sediment and sandbars that have deposited in the creek over time, and repair erosion near the creek.

Cost: $1,133,000

Roaring Run downstream channel improvements

What: Clean and stabilize Roaring Run from Jefferson Street to Youngs Creek.

Cost: $384,000

Forsythe Street culvert replacement

What: Remove existing culverts and replace with bigger culverts to move more water away from the street.

Cost: $417,000

Water Street drainage improvements

What: Remove standing water in the intersections of Water and Adams streets and Water and Kind streets by installing better drainage.

Cost: $528,000

Cincinnati Street drainage improvements 

What: Install better drainage along Cincinnati Street to remove standing water

Cost: $2,007,000

SOURCE: Master plan, Whitaker Engineering