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Flowery Branch rebids flood project
City officials continue searching for permanent solution to damage on Spring Street
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Flowery Branch officials continue searching for a permanent solution to damage on Spring Street from 2013 flooding.

“The headwall has separated from the culvert,” City Manager Bill Andrew said, flipping through photos of the road damage during City Council’s work session Thursday. “This is on May 19 (2013). We’re going to have to put rock in this area to shore that up ... which we do on May 20, which causes the headwall to break.”

The 2013 storm, bringing as much as 7 inches of rain in six hours to Flowery Branch, was called a “400-year storm” by Bob Williams, director of civil engineering with consulting firm Pond & Co.

City officials asked for bids on a replacement bridge in June, with a legal notice stating the city expected to award the project on Aug. 7.

Only three companies threw their hat in the ring for the project, all coming in over budget.

“The bids that we had were not really economically viable, and the timeline for the construction wasn’t going to be starting until maybe around January or February,” Andrew said. “Given those two factors, particularly the timeframe, we were concerned that this structure now was no longer really viable to wait that long.”

Then, a microburst in early September further degraded the road, creating even more of an emergency scenario.

“The more recent rains have caused further collapse of the structure and the further impedance of stormwater,” Williams said. There are concerns over the water backing up and negatively affecting the temporary structure in place while repairs are made.

Instead of bidding out for a bridge, this time the city will ask for a concrete box culvert.

Andrew said he expects more interest.

“The box culvert is the solution that I think best solves the problem and is the long-term solution to the problem here,” Williams said.

Both Andrew and Williams were hesitant to give a firm number for what they expect the project to cost.

At the meeting immediately following the work session, council members unanimously approved an emergency declaration to speed up the bidding process for the box culvert. The abbreviated bidding period will allow for two weeks to complete the design on the project, plus another two weeks to publicize the bid itself.

“We’re hoping in about six to seven weeks we can have someone with a contract in hand,” Andrew said.