Tonawanda News — Those who live along a section of Witmer Road in North Tonawanda may soon have their long-standing flooding worries swept away, rather than their property.
The common council approved a bid this week for the final piece of a northwest storm sewer project, which when completed should alleviate years of flooding issues in that northern section of the Lumber City and parts of bordering Wheatfield.
For 40 years, about a dozen residents living on Witmer Road have routinely endured water filling up their yards and basements during strong rains and spring snow melts.
The problem began after Niagara County built a dump behind those homes. Officials say it took years of political volleying to get the legislature to agree to funding some of the remedy, in the form of a $250,000 contribution over five years.
The first part of the project was complete this summer, adding to some work already conducted in the early 1990s, when larger drainage pipes with more capacity were installed.
In August, upgrades to a single pipe that acts as Wheatfield’s southern drainage outlet were tied into North Tonawanda’s drainage system. The town contributed $50,000 to the city to direct that water to the Niagara River within its borders, while the bulk of Wheatfield’s flooding issues are aligned along the northwest border of the town.
This week a $97,292 bid was granted to a North Tonawanda company, NFP & Sons, which already had been involved with other aspects of the project and submitted the lowest bid. Phase two work is expected to begin by the end of October and take about four weeks to complete, according to Dale Marshall, city engineer.
He said the open drainage system will do away with the issues Witmer Road residents have been facing for generations, while North Tonawanda will connect to Wheatfield’s drainage pipe to complete the final portion.
“It’s still going to be a ditch system,” Marshall said, “but the fact the wetlands were created by the landfill and flooded their properties … that should go away.”
Marshall added that because of the open ditch design the city will need to keep up on maintenance in order to ensure the flooding problems do not return.