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Town Creek Culvert Project to begin

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By Seth Thomas Gulledge
The Daily Reflector

Monday, February 19, 2018

As the start of the Town Creek Culvert project approaches, the city is beginning to close up land and brief the public on the massive $33 million project that will cause road closures throughout the next two and a half years. 

The Town Creek Culvert is responsible for draining stormwater from about 250 acres in downtown and adjacent areas. It begins near Ninth and Ficklen streets and continues to an outlet into the Tar River between Reade Circle and South Summit Street. Approval to repair, replace and reconstruct the culvert system was given by the City Council during a October 2017 meeting. 

The project was awarded to Trader Construction of New Bern, who will be managing the project.  

According to Kevin Mulligan, the project will begin from the river and move its way towards Fifth Street and beyond. In preparation for the project to begin, the city has officially closed gravel lot adjacent to the parking lot at the Town Common. The lot will remained closed for an unknown amount of time while construction begins. 

The closure will not affect access to the Town Common, parking lot or boat ramp. 

In addition to the closure, the city announced a pair of information meetings in the coming month to brief the public on the impact of the project. 

Public meetings will be held at 9:30 a.m. on March 1, and at 6 p.m. on March 5 to discuss the culvert work. Both meetings will be held in the Council Chambers of City Hall, 200 W.Fifth St.

The project is scheduled to begin next month. Mulligan said due to the size and scope of the project, including digging holes 20 feet deep running the length of the culvert, road closures, noise and vibrations are probably inconveniences residents can expect during construction.

He said the city will continue to work with homeowners, businesses and residents over the course of the project to minimize effects as much as possible. 

Portions of the culvert were built before 1935. As the city continues to develop and the aging culvert continues to deteriorate, flooding downtown has become of an increasing concern, officials said. On Jan. 1, 2016, a portion of the culvert underneath Third Street between Summit and Reade Streets collapsed during a storm, creating a gaping hole that has closed the road since.

Upgrades also were necessitated by the Tenth Street Connector project, which will direct stormwater from two other outfalls into the culvert and increase the amount of stormwater in the system.

Contact Seth Gulledge at Sgulledge@reflector.com and 329-9579. Follow him on Twitter @GulledgeSeth