Feasibility study hoping to ease flooding and save lives - KCTV5

Feasibility study hoping to ease flooding and save lives

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Help to ease flooding in Nashville, Brentwood, Franklin and Williamson could soon be on the way. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is teaming with local officials to come up with a plan to help these areas that were devastated by flooding.

Flood waters put a stranglehold on parts of the Middle Tennessee in 2010, and those images are hard to forget.

Just two weeks ago, flash flooding creeped up on homes and businesses in north Nashville. More than four inches of rain were dumped on the area in about 60 minutes.

"We have experienced in a course of three years, two 1,000 year flooding events, and that underscores the need for preparedness and flood mitigation," said Nashville Mayor Karl Dean.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced a flooding feasibility study with Metro Nashville, the Cites of Brentwood and Franklin, and Williamson County, in an effort to reduce flood risk, and to keep the public safe.

"We could design a 100 year event because people are concerned about their flood insurance, and FEMA kind of base their flood insurance on the 100 year event, or maybe a 500 year event," said Russ Rote, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers.

The three feasibility studies are currently underway at the Harpeth River, Cumberland River and Mill Creek. Mill Creek is farthest along; it was underway during the 2010 flood.

Since then changes have already taken place.

"Metro put in a lot of hard work after a catastrophic 2010 flood to make our city safe," Dean said.

The City of Franklin was also hard hit when the two-day rainfall saturated the area with 18 to 20 inches of rain in 48-hours, and 498 people had to be rescued.

"Four-hundred-and-forty-nine private structures were damaged, and 85 percent of those were residential," said Franklin Mayor Ken Moore.

The study will assess the need for buy-outs of addition homes in the flood prone areas, restoration of eco-systems, and construction of retention and detention structures. But these officials know, there will always be flooding no matter how many improvements are made.

"Frankly, there is some volume of water that just can't be gotten out of the system quick enough to totally eliminate flooding," Roth said.

The Cumberland River Feasibility Study will include Whites, Richland and Browns Creeks. It's estimated to cost $1.6 million; the cost will be shared between Metro Nashville and the Corps.

Nashville, Franklin, Brentwood and Williamson County will split the $1.4 million cost with the Corps to complete the Harpeth River Feasibility Study.

The study is expected to be completed in August 2016. From there the recommendations will go to design phase, and then construction should begin two to three years later.

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