Sept. 3 2010 12:00 AM

Newly paved intersection under water after Thursday’s rain

This story has been updated with new information from the contractor.

The corner of Oakland Avenue and Pine Street — recently reopened after being closed for months for the sewer separation project — was awash Thursday with sediment-filled water. One neighbor said it’s been a common occurrence since reopening in early August.

The pool of water spanned Pine, which is two lanes plus parking on both sides.

Denise Mulholland, who lives just south of the big puddle, said pools form every time it rains. Thursday’s rain was light, she said. When it pours, flooding extends out into the intersection, she said.


A car turns left onto southbound Pine Street from Oakland Avenue this afternoon. Photos by Andy Balaskovitz.

“I’m not real happy with it,” Mulholland said. “It’s kind of embarrassing.”

While she commends the city for making the block “look nice,” Mulholland said the rainwater could soon pose a more serious threat: accumulated ice. “You could have crashes out there,” she said.

John Fechner, foreman on the project at Pine and Oakland for Kamminga and Roodvoets Inc. (the city-hired contractors), said post-rain flooding will happen for at least another month until the Pine Street paving is complete. There is a 2-inch “lip” between the road surface and where the water drains into the sewer.

“It’s a low spot of the road and everything drains there,” he said, adding that the lip is causing water to collect each time it rains. “We always get that puddle there.”

Fechner said there is a roughly two-month gap between reopening the road and adding the final surface for residents’ convenience. It also allows his company to rotate projects throughout the city, not spending too long of a time in one place, he said.

Chad Gamble, director of the Lansing Public Services Department, said Thursday a full silt sack, a roughly 2-foot-by-2-foot bag that catches sediment, harmful particulates and trash, could also be a factor in the flooding. When a rain event occurs, water trickles down the road, collecting sediment and construction site pollutants.

The sacks are attached within catch basins and dangle beneath the road. Think of it like a coffee filter that keeps the grounds from getting in the pot.


A silt sack in the foreground

As silt sacks filter water runoff, so too do they slow the drainage process. Thursday, the two silt sacks on Pine north of Oakland were also filled with leaves and trash.

The Public Service Department inspects the site and if necessary sends the contractor to replace the silt sack. A replacement requires “two strong guys” and a backhoe, Gamble said.

If the flooding becomes hazardous, the city would have to redirect or pump the water out of the area, Gamble said.

Gamble said he doubts Thursday’s flooding was caused by a failure of the CSO project, but added, “Anything is possible.”