Rainfall fills Lynn Ave.storm drain

By Thomas Wilson
STAR STAFF
twilson@starhq.com

   A string of storms rocked Northeast Tennessee last week, splitting trees and pushing storm drains to overflow.
   Torrential downpours left a small lake of water at the Broad Street/Lynn Avenue intersection last week, deluging storm drains and stopping motorists. Ted Leger, Elizabethton director of Public Works, said Friday the storm drains rarely overflowed unless intense rainfall occurred.
   "We don't have the funds to do a whole lot of storm improvement," said Leger. "In most cases, it doesn't make a lot of sense. The (drain) handles 99 percent of water except when you get a downpour."
   On Friday, city crews were working to increase the size of water lines on East D Street when they inadvertently ruptured a sewer line while placing a large water line underground near the intersection. City crews replaced a joint on the sewer line, Leger said.
   The new line being installed Friday would significantly help storm drainage near the area, Leger said. A project to widen Lynn Avenue as an offshoot roadway from the Northern Connector should provide better storm drainage along the roadway.
   Elizabethton City Council voted earlier this year to commit roughly $10,200 in matching funds for preliminary engineering services to turn a section of Lynn Avenue into a five-lane highway connecting Broad Street with the $28 million Northern Connector. The project would include refurbishing the storm water drainage system and sewer line along Lynn Avenue.
   The preliminary engineering services total of $51,000 will be provided by the Tennessee Department of Transportation with money funneled through federal transportation dollars. Engineering services would be the first step in reconstructing a .33-mile section of Lynn Avenue into a five-lane highway, extending from the Connector to Broad Street. The Connector project could be completed by 2005.
   That project would be a welcomed public works improvement along Lynn Avenue with lower costs to the city.
   Leger said the city lacked the staff and dollars to build major drainage sewers, but actively sought to make system improvements when funds were available.
   "Things we can improve we are working toward improving them as we have the budget to do so," he said.