Solomon Creek Flood Wall Project Ahead Of Schedule
WILKES-BARRE — The Solomon Creek Flood Protection Project is running ahead of schedule, with a portion of new retaining wall erected last week in South Wilkes-Barre.
Crews from Don E. Bower Inc., of Berwick, were laying prefabricated concrete sections of the wall along Brook Street between South Franklin and Regent streets up through Friday afternoon.
“They’re actually ahead of schedule, much, much more than I would have imagined they would be,” said Joyce Morrash Zaykowski, city director of Economic and Community Development.
This first phase of the flood-control project entails replacement of about 600 feet of flood wall along Brook Street between Waller and South Franklin streets.
Construction of the new flood wall began between Franklin and Regent streets, and work will proceed westward along Brook Street to Waller Street.
Bower was second-lowest bidder on the first phase of the project at $2,017,955. The company was awarded the contract in August.
City council previously awarded the contract to A.R. Popple, the lowest bidder at $1,548,488, in May. The administration terminated Popple’s contract without explanation in mid-July.
Since Bower broke ground at the start of October, and prior to the removal and replacement of the flood wall, the contractor had been relocating utility lines. The brunt of that work entailed replacement and relocation of sanitary sewer lines, which were in “very poor” shape, Zaykowski said.
The condition of those lines likely contributed to backup of stormwater through manholes throughout the neighborhood during major rainfalls. Flash flooding in the area has been a problem for more than 25 years, she said.
Mayor Tony George has said replacing the flood wall, which was built in the 1930s, was a top priority.
Plans to repair the wall, which protects about 700 homes in South Wilkes-Barre, were in the works for several years, but they were pushed up after a 40-foot section of wall on the south side of the creek between Waller and Barney streets collapsed Dec. 9, 2016. Temporary repairs have been in place since then.
“On the other side of the creek, the wall is failing,” Zaykowski said. “We feel it’s necessary to stabilize both of those walls.”
Bower hopes to have a major portion of the wall replacement complete by January.
“A good portion of it should be done hopefully before the weather gets really bad. They’re going to continue to work while the weather is permitting,” Zaykowski said.
The final part of the first phase of the project — sidewalk and street reconstruction — won’t be started until the spring, Bower will try to temporarily re-open streets after wall construction is complete and prior to street and sidewalk reconstruction, if possible, Zaykowski said.
The second phase of the project — construction of a pump station and additional wall replacement — will be advertised for bid in February.
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, Zaykowski said.
In addition to constructing the pump station during the second phase of the project, “we have enough money to do extra wall” replacement, she noted.
The city acquired $6 million in state funding and borrowed another $4 million for the project.
“We’re just very excited that it’s underway, very excited that it actually got started, very excited we have the funding to implement it,” Zaykowski said. “We’re just going to keep moving forward.”
Contact the writer: firstname.lastname@example.org, 570-821-2110, @MocarskyCV
Watch video of work at Solomon Creek at citizensvoice.com.