MANSFIELD -- A $1.5 million, two-year design of an earthen dry dam aimed at alleviating flooding on the city's north is about six months old.
But an inquiring Mansfield City Council got an update from engineer Bob Bianchi on Wednesday evening while also approving two pieces of legislation in support of the overall project.
It's the first time the project aimed at preventing the "100-year flood" has come up at council since local lawmakers approved funding for the project in September 2021.
Once the design work is complete, the city administration and council would have to make a decision on moving ahead with the Touby Run Flood Mitigation Project in North Lake Park, estimated recently to cost about $16.5 million.
The Mansfield Board of Control awarded the contract to EMHT in February and work has been ongoing, according to Bianchi, who spoke during a public utilities committee meeting at the request of chairwoman Laura Burns (1st Ward).
"It's been going really well," Bianchi aid. "(EMHT) has got a very good team. Right now, a lot of the work is behind the scenes. It's not too exciting to be honest with you.
"So we don't have a whole lot to update you on. In the next, probably six months, we will have more of a presentation style (and) I would say that we could give you an update on where exactly we are," Bianchi said.
The engineer said there are actually three components in the project underway -- the actual dry dam design, the creation of a retention basin in South Park and a "mass fill" effort on North Main Street near Sixth Street to keep water from spilling over the banks of Touby's Run.
That mass fill also includes some rerouting of the storm sewer in the area, Bianchi said.
One of the actions council approved Wednesday was to appropriate an easement of 0.046 acres of land owned by the Norfolk Southern Railway Company.
"It's an easement we need from the railroad company to allow us to put fill within their property. This is an easement that would last in perpetuity and would protect the land from the fill being removed.
"That fill is very important to keep the water inside Tuoby's Run channel banks. The dam's gonna hold back about 140 million gallons of water. But that only goes so far. There's one spot along Touby's Run where the channel banks are so low that water can still leave the channel banks even with the dam.
"This fill area will allow the channel banks to be much higher and keep the water inside Touby's Run," Bianchi said.
A second council action Wednesday was to approve a design contract for a new bridge on Sixth Street, east of Bowman Street.
Bianchi said the bridge in the flood plain was built in the late 1800s and its twin-arch design allows debris in the channel to build up.
"If you look over the side of that bridge after a storm, you'll see lots of debris that's been built up. So that bridge will be replaced with a single span structure that will allow the water and debris to flow through it," he said.
"It'll help mitigate some of the flooding, but of course it's not gonna solve the flood problem. That's what the dam will do, but this is one small component," Bianchi said.
He estimated the design project will cost $140,000 to $160,00, paid for from city sewer funds. Once the design is done, Bianchi said, he would return to council for construction project authorization.