WEST WARWICK — Residents in the Shippee Ave area of town will be seeing some storm drainage relief on their properties by the end of this year, according to town officials at a council meeting Tuesday night.
The neighborhood has long been a local hotspot for flooding and standing water, and residents have pleaded with the town to find a solution for years. After consulting and going through several possible plans with the town’s engineering firm, Fuss and O’Neill, the West Warwick Town Council voted unanimously this week to award the bid for the Shippee Avenue drainage project to Warwick-based Cardi Corporation.
Fuss and O’Neill originally presented the town with a Green Infrastructure plan to deal with the drainage last year for a price tag of over $1 million, but at the time West Warwick Town Planner Mark Carruolo said the design, despite the high price tag, would only reduce the amount of water on the properties by several inches, barely enough to make a difference. The original plan was to place underground cisterns, or holding tanks, to reduce the volume of run off, but once the tanks were full the water would still be an issue.
After asking the engineer to find a design for the drainage that would fit within the town’s roughly $700,000 price range to provide the most relief, Fuss and O’Neill have proposed the installation of a 24” underground pipe running from Plante Court to Lachance Street, the first phase of the project, which is expected to provide significant drainage relief for the neighborhood. Combined with phase 2 of the project, which involves installing underground storage areas to hold excess water, the projects total cost will be $1,212,587, but the second phase of the work is contingent upon a Community Development Block Grant the town has applied for in the amount of $500,000.
“I know the residents have been waiting for this for decades,” said councilman Jason Messier, who has overseen the project since the start of his term. “I’m excited for them to have this project finally moving forward. It’s been a long journey for them.”
The town currently has the $700,000 for the first phase of the project ready to go, including $500,000 set aside in Ward 3 road paving funds and another $200,000 in community development block grants/disaster recovery funds.
“This money is specifically earmarked for Shippee Ave,” said Elaine Mansour in the town’s CDBG office.
A neighborhood meeting for residents will be held on Wednesday, July 11 at 6 p.m. at West Warwick Town Hall to discuss the project and answer questions. The project engineer, a representative from Cardi Corp and town officials will be present that night to address any concerns.
Phase one of the project is expected to be complete around the end of October, but will be completely wrapped up by the end of the year. The town must close out the project by the end of the year as a requirement of its grant funding.
“The project, when we first looked at it, we had a ceiling of $700,00,” said Mark Correia of Fuss and O’Neill. “So we went in and looked at what the best bang for your buck would be with that. One of the things we did was enlarge the pipe coming from Shippee Avenue all the way down to Lachance. There’s an existing culvert on Lachance moving water from the area, so we’re going to be resizing that pipe to be larger. It’s going to move water away quicker. We’re also going to include storage facilities on Shippee Ave that are going to store water and disperse it a little slower, so were essentially taking what’s right now sitting on the ground during flood events and putting it underground. Phase 2 is increasing storage capacity.”
The project is estimated to start around late July, early August.
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