Highway Commission to access drainage problems

By Jennifer Lassiter
star staff

  As rain from Ivan closed in on East Tennessee yesterday afternoon, concerned citizens gathered at the Carter County Highway Department to address drainage and runoff problems in three specific subdivisions.
  Residents overflowed the tiny room to listen to suggestions from engineer Gary Tysinger about the Rittertown/Greenbriar/ Mountain View Road site, Siam site, and the Hunter site.
  All three locations pose problems for residents and the county's Highway Department. Neighborhood planning, structures built in flood plains, and the clearing of trees cause drainage problems. Private property also poses a problem in implementing solutions for runoff because of easements rights.
  Lisa Honeycutt, a resident of Greenbriar, has been dealing with drainage problems on Rittertown Road. Honeycutt doesn't live near a creek or river bed. According to her, poor planning is the reason why her foundation is falling away from her house and why she has purchased two sump pumps in preparation for Ivan.
  "I'm tired of fighting the water; everybody else in here is tired of fighting the water," Honeycutt said. "But what happens now? We can sit here and say who is responsible for this or that, but what I want to know is are we going to drop the ball on this."
  Robert Davis responded that special engineers are needed to address the problems to assess the cost and who is going to pay the bill. "We will not drop the ball, but there is not a quick fix," said Davis.
  Chairman Jerry Pearman made a motion seconded by John Lewis to take drainage matters to the full commission and include assessments in the October agenda.
  The three sites are just an example of what the county Highway Department has in store for improving drainage and runoffs within the county. Water will continue to create problems for the county, but first steps have been taken to bring the attention to the full commission at their October meeting.