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Supervisors Address Storm Water Drainage in County

Mar. 8, 2023

Source: Rankin County News; Charles Bailey, Journalist

RANKIN - Officials have begun an ambitious program designed to improve storm water drainage issues throughout Rankin County. 

One of the first of these projects concerned drainage along Vernon Jones Avenue, which runs west off Old Fannin Road. It is one of approximately 29 efforts that will be funded in part by the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), along with matching dollars allocated by the State of Mississippi.

"The Vernon Jones Storm Water Improvement Project is one of the first storm water management projects to be completed under Rankin County's Storm Water Protection and Restoration Program, which was adopted and approved by the Board of Supervisors in early 2022," board attorney Craig Slay said.

The entire, county-wide program is funded with approximately $25 million in ARPA funds that were made available directly to Rankin County. The county's ARPA funds have been 'matched' with another roughly $21 million from state dollars that were secured throught the Mississippi Municipal and County Water Infrastructure Grant Program and administered by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.

Another pair of more significant projects have recently been discussed, including the Mill Creek Drainage Improvement component, and the Oak Grove Drainage Improvement component.

"The county has identified the drainage area of Mill Creek in the area of Castlewoods subdivision as a priority drainage improvement effort using a portion of the county's (ARPA) funds,' he said. "This drainage improvement effort has a construction cost estimate of $5.5 million. The scope of corrective activity will cover that portion of Mill Creek beginning at Arundel Drive and continuing to the intersection of Mill Creek and Castlewoods Boulevard," Slay said.

The proposed work would include cleaning up and re-shaping Mill Creek to create a more uniform cross section, he said. A successful bidder on the project would be required to clear trees and vegitation, perform significant excavation operations to remove excess material and silt from Mill Creek, provide other minor improvements, and place rock material within Mill Creek and along the embankments once a final grade and shape is achieved to better control erosion.

A launch date for this project has not been established. It is anticipated that the county will learn whether the Mill Creek component is eligible for state matching funds by the end of this year. The Board of Supervisors hopes to begin construction work in 2023.

Another component, the Oak Grove Drainage Improvement, is anticipated to cost approximately $3 million.

"The scope of activity would cover approximately one mile of (an) existing drainage ditch, running south through Oak Grove subdivision between the common boundary shared between Riverchase and Hunters Oak and Barnett Bend, and ending at the ditch intersection with Old Fannin Road," Slay said.

The proposed work would mirror the Mill Creek efforts, along with providing storm drain pipe improvements "and lining the ditch with rock material in order to stabilize the embankments once a final grade and shape is achieved," Slay said.

Benchmark Engineering provided engineering services for the Vernon Jones effort and Thornton Construction Company was the project's contractor.

"The Vernon Jones Storm Water Improvement Project is one example of an effort to better address storm water challenges in areas where development pressure has led to unintended storm water issues," Slay said. "The county is moving several projects through the design and permitting phases of preparations, and intends to see construction activities underway across the county in 2023. Some of the county's ARPA-funded storm water projects require significant federal agency review and permitting and potential mitigation requirements, while others do not require special permitting or mitigation.

"Accordingly, some of the county's projects will be delayed before construction begins while permitting or mitigation requirements are satisfied. Other projects, such as the Vernon Jones Storm Water Improvement Project, were moved into construction very quickly and have been completed."

Rankin County's Storm Water Protection and Restoration Program is a comprehensive, multi-year effort to initiate holistic, cutting-edge storm water management techniques that are designed to better control storm water run-off, some of which is attributable to expansive residential and commercial development in areas of the county where infrastructure has not kept pace with development activity.


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