The heavy rain this month has brought a return of an all-too familiar problem in Johnson City — flooding. Downtown has been vexed particularly by this problem for a number of years now. Earlier this month, a thunderstorm dumped more than 5 inches of rain in parts of the city. This resulted in waterways like Brush Creek (which flows alongside State of Franklin Road) to overflow their banks.
The Aug. 5 thunderstorm also overwhelmed the stormwater drainage system and left many city streets and some parking lots covered with several feet of water.
Johnson City officials say an inch of rain that falls in 30 minutes is the equivalent of a two-year storm. King Creek should be able to handle anything less than an inch during the same time period. Unfortunately, recent storms have shown what happens when too much rain falls too quickly.
The city is continuing work to put new stormwater measures in place as part of a $30 million flood abatement plan that includes major improvements along Brush and King creeks. Johnson City will soon issue $5 million in bonds to fund three of eight projects under that plan.
Had all phases of that flood-mitigation plan been in place this month, one city official believes there would have been no flooding in the downtown area.
“That’s what the plan is intended to do,” Public Works Director Pindzola told Press staff writer Gary B. Gray in a story that appeared Aug. 12. “You would not have seen flooding downtown if the long-range plan had been in place. We received about the same amount of rainfall we saw in 2003, and that is what raised everyone’s awareness enough to begin developing a plan. But right now, we don’t plan to change anything — just make sure we keep the culverts and drains cleaned.”
Tell us what you think. Is Johnson City on the right track to addressing the flooding problem?
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We will print your responses on the Opinion pages in the coming weeks.