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Work Held Up On Solomon Creek Flood Control Project

April 13, 2019

WILKES-BARRE — Work on the Solomon Creek flood control project will be held up for a few weeks as city officials deal with federal red tape.

The city has nearly exhausted the $925,000 in state grant funding, with only $130,779 still available, Mayor Tony George’s office said Friday in an emailed response to inquiries on the project.

More than $3.8 million in federal grants has been allocated for the project, which includes replacement of a decades-old retaining wall along the creek in South Wilkes-Barre, but the city must take some “programmatic steps” before the federal money can be released.

The city is required to place three advertisements describing the project in a newspaper and allow for public comment periods related to the project.

The first notice explains the nature of the project that is occurring in a floodplain. The next notice again explains the nature of project as well as all the alternative methods and mitigation measures that were considered to address flooding in the neighborhood. Finally, a request for a release of funds must be published to notify the public that the city is asking that the federal funds be made available for use on the project.

The three advertisements have minimum notification and comment periods. The city is going through the notification/comment process now, and it’s set to expire in 24 days, according to the mayor’s office.

The project may not continue until this minimum notification/comment period has expired and a release of funds is issued.

The mayor’s office said the first phase of the project is about half complete.

Work completed since the contractor, Don E. Bower Inc., of Berwick, broke ground at the beginning of October includes:

- Relocation and replacement of all water and gas lines

- Replacement of sanitary sewer lines between Barney and Franklin streets

- Placement of the precast modular block retaining wall between Barney and Regent streets and between Regent and Franklin streets

- Removal of existing wall between Barney and Waller streets and replacement of a portion of the pre-cast modular block retaining wall between those streets

Remaining work includes:

- Completion of the pre-cast modular retaining wall between Waller and Barney streets

- Completion of the moment slab and parapet wall between all three sections between Franklin and Waller streets. A moment slab is a steel-rod reinforced concrete slab that sits atop the pre-fabricated wall and acts as an anchor as well as a base for the asphalt pavement roadway. The parapet wall sits atop the moment slab and serves as the higher elevation piece of the wall and brings it to its design height.

- Final paving operations

The first phase of the project is expected to be completed, weather permitting, by the end of May or early June, with completion of paving in mid to late June.

The second phase includes construction of a pump station and additional wall replacement. The pump station will alleviate water backing up through manholes in the neighborhood and will return some of the water back into the creek further downstream.

Phase II will be put out to bid early next month to ensure a seamless transition into the next phase of the project, the mayor’s office said.

Contact the writer:


570-821-2110, @MocarskyCV

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