Public hearing scheduled for Pughsville drainage project

Published 8:52 pm Monday, December 27, 2021

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City Council has scheduled a public hearing for Jan. 5 on an ordinance that would allow the city to buy property for Phase II of drainage improvements in Pughsville.

The city would buy property in the area between Queen Street and Armstrong Avenue to put in a stormwater pond that would reduce the flow of water going into Chesapeake and provide water quality credits for the project. It would also acquire easements to put in a closed-pipe system on John Street.

Public Works Department officials held a design public hearing Nov. 30 to answer questions about the project, and coordination between Suffolk and Chesapeake is required since part of the project along John Street is in Chesapeake.

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The project is expected to cost just over $7 million, with $2 million coming from the American Rescue Plan Act and $5.034 million in city capital improvement money and Virginia Department of Transportation revenue-sharing money. The cost of the project includes the design, acquiring right-of-way and construction. In Phase I, the city added more culverts and increased their size along Town Point Road.
Public Works Director Robert Lewis said the project will help Pughsville when it rains because it will reduce flooding and water levels in storm ditches, and it will also improve access to the neighborhood. Drainage from Pughsville flows into box culverts under Pughsville Road and into Chesapeake, as it ultimately discharges into the Elizabeth River.

While the project will be on Suffolk’s 330-acre part of Pughsville, some drainage work will eventually happen on Chesapeake’s 70 acres.

Chesapeake has been trying to get permits from Commonwealth Railroad to double the size of the reinforced concrete pipe from 36 inches to 72 inches while also flushing and cleaning six, 36-inch reinforced concrete pipes. Once Chesapeake has the permits, it expects to take about nine months to complete the work.

If council approves Public Works acquiring the needed land, Lewis said it would begin right-of-way acquisition in the spring and continue that process for the next year, putting the project out for bid before starting construction around December 2023 and continuing the work for about 18 months.

“This is just the second bite of a great big elephant that we have to eat,” Lewis said in November, the first being the culverts that have gone in across Town Point Road. “This is the second. There’s probably even a third or fourth or maybe even a fifth (phase) in the future that’s got to come.”