Drainage concerns still pouring into debate

By AUTUMN HUGHES
Posted 6/12/19

Drainage issues continue to be a topic of conversation for Bradley County residents and officials.

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Drainage concerns still pouring into debate

Posted

Drainage issues continue to be a topic of conversation for Bradley County residents and officials.

Residents of Hidden Forest subdivision kept that discussion afloat during Monday’s meeting of the Bradley County Commission’s Road Committee. The issue was brought up last month when subdivision residents John Daniel and Roger Bennett shared their concerns with the County Commission. At that time, Daniel said about three years ago the Tennessee Department of Transportation cut a trench that caused drainage from Hidden Forest Drive to pool in his yard. Daniel said he has had no success with either TDOT or the Bradley County Road Department in addressing the issue.

Bennett reiterated there are drainage issues that have gotten worse over the last eight to 10 years. Bennett said he regularly digs out a ditch to remove gravel and keep water from going into his house.

"It's gradually gotten worse," he said, adding he would appreciate a solution to the problem.

During Monday’s Road Committee meeting, Bradley County Road Superintendent Sandra Knight said the subdivision consists of flag lots off a county-maintained right of way.

“All these properties sit off the county road,” she said.

Committee members reviewed photos provided by the property owners, showing standing water after the most recent rain, which residents described as “a regular rain, that’s not a huge thunderstorm.”

Bennett said the issue is caused by water coming off the main road onto neighboring properties. He said the subdivision is curbed and that diverts water down his driveway.

“It washes gravel out and fills up all my ditches,” he said.

Commissioner Mike Hughes asked Knight if the Road Department could put in a speed bump to help direct water. Bennett said there was a speed bump at one time, but it has been removed.

Hughes asked who removed the speed bump, and Bennett said, “a private citizen did it.” Daniel said neither he nor Bennett removed the speed bump. Hughes asked if the speed bump did any good until the point it was removed. Bennett said it was not in place long enough to tell if it was helping.

Bennett added the drainage issue has been worse since the road was paved, and Commissioner Dennis Epperson asked how it got worse.

Bennett said he has lived in his home for 22 years and now water travels faster on the pavement, and the curbs are lower following the paving, adding to the problem.

Road Committee Chairman Kevin Raper asked Knight if anything can be done on the county’s property to help fix this issue for the residents. Knight said the Road Department put in a curb, but it was removed.

Knight said she is open to suggestions on how to correct the issue. Liz Daniel said she believes the Road Department needs to pave the road to fix the problems.

“The state law says I can’t do that,” Knight said.

Commissioner Charlotte Peak, who does not serve on the Road Committee but was in attendance at the meeting, asked if the road could be taken into the county’s road system. Knight said it would need to be brought up to county standards first, including curbs, fire hydrants and sidewalks, among others.

Bennett asked if the road is brought up to code, if Bradley County will maintain it. Knight said once it is brought up to code, it would go to the County Commission to consider approval of adding it to the county road list.

Peak reminded the residents that the private road they live on was a private road when they bought their property. Knight said it is not a private road, but is a flag stem easement.

Epperson told Bennett he estimated it will cost $20,000 to $30,000 to fix the problem.

Knight agreed to meet with Bennett and Daniel to look at the Road Department’s documents related to the roadway. Peak asked to be included in that meeting.

Knight also gave updates on several projects, including:

• 149 Hall Norwood Road — Knight said she has received no timeline from railroad officials, adding the issues there are all on the railroad right of way.

• Chestuee/Old York Road culvert — Knight said this is still on the Road Department’s schedule and, “hopefully we’ll get to it fairly soon.”

• State route issues — Knight said it seems like she is getting more response “on getting things done in the county.”

• State Route 60 — Raper said he was asked at a recent meeting to talk with city of Cleveland officials about school dismissal times and other issues related to three schools located on State Route 60.

The driving distance along State Route 60 from Hopewell Elementary School to Cleveland Middle School is approximately 2.5 miles, with the new Candy’s Creek Cherokee Elementary School located between those schools. CCCES is slated to open in August, adding to traffic congestion issues related to the other schools.

Raper said he has spoken twice with Cleveland City Manager Joe Fivas to express concerns.

Epperson suggested when schools open in August, maybe Knight can put up detour recommendation signs to direct drivers to other routes and help with traffic. Knight said TDOT will have signs in the area related to roadwork, but she can add signs suggesting drivers take another route.

“We could try it and see,” Knight said.

• Paul Huff Parkway extension — Raper said there is no new information on this item.

“I’ve just heard the rumors and nobody will say yes or no” about any potential extension, Knight said.

• Peach Orchard Hill Road washing out on sides — Knight said a vehicle went off the roadway and broke the edge of the pavement. The Road Department has worked on it and repaired all areas of damage.

In other business:

• Resident Ken Cole asked for the Bradley County Road Department to complete work on Wayfarer Drive and Nipper Drive. He said he has pursued this issue since February 2014, when he said the County Commission agreed to pave the road; some work has been done, but not completed, he said.

Based on what he considered the county’s commitment, Cole said he bought property to develop, but he has been unable to proceed as planned because the road work has not been done.

The Road Committee approved a motion to look into what has been approved related to the road and platted subdivision, as well as to ask County Attorney Crystal Freiberg’s opinion.

• Another resident who brought up drainage concerns was Carol Giarla, a Durkee Road resident. She questioned if there is a county engineer and asked to see a countywide plan for stormwater.

Peak said there is no full-time engineer and she has asked funding for one be put in the 2019-20 budget.

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