South Center Street drainage project completed

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The long-awaited South Center Street drainage project has been completed and will result in improvements, but there is another major hurdle the town must overcome before flooding in that area will be corrected.

Until a larger culvert is installed beneath the railroad in the South Center/Maple Street area, the flooding problem is not going to be corrected, Mount Olive officials say.

Town Manager Charles Brown said the railroad company, CSX, has been notified and has responded saying the issue is being reviewed.

Brown said the current culvert under the railroad at that intersection does not handle the flow of receding water during unusual rainfall, creating major flooding issues in the area.

Engineers, who have studied the problem, have made it clear a larger culvert and/or even two culverts would eliminate flooding problems in the south end of the area, Brown said. The town spent months installing larger drain pipes from Center Street all the way to Breazeale Avenue, along a three block stretch of Maple Street.

It was done with in-house personnel and was a savings of thousands of dollars, Brown added.

The town’s work actually started at Williamson Street and South Center where new catch basins were installed.

At that point, Brown said, catch basins and a drainage pipe from Center Street to Breazeale Avenue were replaced. The drainage pipe along that stretch was upgraded from 18- to 24-inches, he added.

“That will help the flooding situation, but the solution will not be complete until CSX agrees to up-size the culvert under the railroad at the Maple Street area,” explained the town manager.

Brown said the current culvert under the railroad at that area is 36 inches, but engineers say it needs to be 48 inches, and would be much more effective if there were two of them. The project is estimated to cost $500,000.

“We have approached the railroad about that issue and they responded, saying it is under review at this time,” Brown added. “The flooding issue in that area will not be completely solved until that is done.”

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