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Braintree preps for flood-prevention work in two neighborhoods

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  October 12, 2012 03:33 PM

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Braintree officials can take the next steps in putting flood-relief plan in place for North Braintree, after town officials approved an updated plan for flood control for the entire town.

The project, estimated to cost $245,000, calls for installing two culverts designed to alleviate flash flooding in two neighborhoods in the dense residential area of Dickerman Lane and Staten Road.

Although the town initially applied for a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) several years ago, and received word that FEMA would cover 75 percent of the project cost, no work could be done until Braintree updated its Hazard Mitigation Plan.

The plan details what initiatives the town should undertake to mitigate the impact of natural disasters, and lists several projects the town hopes to do.

“What we did is we identified an area we wanted to do work in. So they looked to our hazard-mitigation area to see if it was in there, and realized it wasn’t up to date. So we had to update it to get this grant,” said Christine Stickney, director of planning and community development.

Town Council voted to unanimously adopt the updated plan at its meeting on Oct. 2, enabling the town to move forward with procuring the funds for the work.

Although the culverts are still necessary to help deal with the fallout from larger storms, according to town engineer Bob Campbell, the flooding has been much better as of late.

“Its in the middle of a very developed area, so if we get a hard downpour for a short period of time, then that brook would flood…and get into basements and stuff like that. Some of the rivers would never even see a blimp out of it,” Campbell said. “So we worked with Archbishop Williams High School and the masons when they were doing the field to put in a huge retention basin behind the field. That’s ended up reducing the effects of the sudden downpours.”

Regardless, the added culverts should lessen any future flooding in that area.

Although it has taken over three years from grant application to now, Campbell didn’t feel the process was longer than normal.

“When you file for these grants, they get revived, there are a few iterations of making changes and getting everything in the best light to be able to get the grant, because they are competitive. So we went through that process and the Mass Emergency Management people concluded that they were going to support our application with FEMA, and FEMA weighed the cost benefits of doing the project…

“In the meantime, our Hazard Mitigation Plan expired…so that was another thing we had to overcome, to get that passed. And that’s where we are now,” Campbell said.

Stickney said she hadn’t heard much reaction from residents about the updates, but said that come a big rainstorm, people would appreciate the work.

Although the town can move forward with the project, it might be more costly than expected, Stickney said, as prices have changed since when the town initially applied for the grant.

Regardless, FEMA has committed to pay for 75 percent of the project cost.

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