July 17, 2013 — Preliminary results of the Tygart’s Creek hydrological study, as well as potential flood mitigation options, were unveiled during a public hearing last Tuesday in Olive Hill.
Jonathan Keeling, project manager for Stantec, who was in charge of the study, was on hand to present the findings and field questions from the community.
The study included a complete topographical analysis of the 74 square-mile watershed surrounding Olive Hill, which was then used to calculate flood profiles for theoretical 10, 50, 100 and 500-year flood events.
“We’ve compared our data to the 2011 study by FEMA. Based on that comparison, we’re talking about an increase of one to two feet in flood elevations based on the new study,” Keeling said.
The study also suggests new floodplain boundaries that closely resemble those on the current FEMA flood maps but do include some variations based on the data collected.
Keeling also laid out three potential options for mitigating the impact of potential flooding in the future.
The first option focuses on improving water flow in Tygart’s Creek by replacing the Chili Street (KY 986) bridge with a more elevated structure, as well as removing abutments and piers from various abandoned railroad crossings over the creek.
Keeling reported that the estimated cost for the bridge replacement is approximately $1.08 million while removing the railroad obstructions would potentially carry a $768,000 price tag.
A second option focuses on building structures, such as levees and flood walls, to prevent flooding within Olive Hill city limits.
Keeling presented multiple configurations for layout of these structures, with costs ranging from $4.8 million to $31.2 million depending on size.
The third option involves construction of a water retention basin and dam system to capture excess water flow. Cost of this option could range from $4 to $5 million, depending on the basin’s retention capacity.
Stantec did not identify potential causes of the 2010 floods in this report, as they are currently conducting another study for the Kentucky League of Cities which addresses that issue.
Keeling stated that the causation study has yet to be completed, but he couldn’t offer any further information because he is not in charge of that project.
Joe Lewis can be reached at email@example.com or by telephone at 286-4201.