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Bethlehem News

Flood reduction projects progress in Bethlehem Twp., at millions under budget

Bethlehem Township Flooding
Will Oliver
A "Road May Flood" sign along Easton Avenue, just down from the Bethlehem city limits.

BETHLEHEM TWP., Pa. — Township officials were provided a brief update Monday regarding the two-year progress of stormwater capital improvements.

And officials said it looks like there will ultimately be millions saved compared to original projections, with some projects underway, under discussion or being sent out for bid soon.

After securing a $4 million grant and sharing costs with Bethlehem for Phase 1 Easton Avenue improvements, the overall costs are running more in the range of $20 million instead of the $30 million originally projected, according to project consultant Bruce Hulshizer.

“We’ve made a fair amount of progress in two years."
Bruce Hulshizer, of HRG, on stormwater improvements in Bethlehem Twp.

Hulshizer, senior municipal consulting and management strategist with HRG, said some of the projects were started to meet requirements of a pollutant reduction plan under a state Department of Environmental Protection stormwater permit.

And community members showed interest in flood mitigation solutions, which are also part of these efforts.

“We’ve made a fair amount of progress in two years,” Hulshizer said.

Some of the capital projects and improvements include the following:

  • Storm sewer expansion at Bethman Road and Fairway Drive 
  • Retrofitting three basins and creating another at Easton Avenue and Santee Road
  • Flood mitigation at Easton Avenue and Santee Road by improving conveyance from Clifton Avenue to Nancy Run
  • Replacing and enlargening a culvert at Farmersville Road and south of Easton Avenue
  • Retrofitting four pollution reduction basins into bio-infiltration basins, all part of Phase 1
  • Retrofitting another two basins into bio-infiltration basins, all part of Phase 2
  • Restoring a creek upstream of Sculac Road
  • Improving drainage at Walnut Street by installing a storm sewer from 11th Street and Walnut Street to Nancy Run

In general terms, flooding and pollution reduction efforts are planned for Easton Avenue and Santee Road; Walnut Street has an initial phase of a drainage project coming; and projects at Sculac and Farmersville roads have seen movement unlike one originally planned for Ohio Street, Hulshizer said.
He said the most movement has happened on PRP Phase 1, including some basin retrofits.

Easton Avenue’s Phase 1 is set to be ready in late spring, while Phase 2 is under discussion.

The Walnut Street drainage project is to be bid in the spring.

Sculac Road’s project will be going through design this year and see a bid next year.

Flooding at Bethman Road and Fairway Drive in Bethlehem Township
HRG Inc.
A proposed solution to the flooding troubles at Bethman Road and Fairway Drive in Bethlehem Township, supplied by HRG Inc. of Harrisburg.

The intersection of Bethman Road and Fairway Drive would get a “micro” stormwater improvement come next year, following the board setting aside nearly $100,000 for the efforts.

Approved by the commissioners in June, project officials said a storm sewer extension north of the intersection would be the most cost-effective option to reduce “ponding.”

Resident Glenn Krier asked about retention pond improvements at Washington Street and if that was part of the overall stormwater budget.

Hulshizer said that work falls under the Phase 1 part of the PRP.

“My understanding on those stormwater basins is that they are slowing down the water downstream, so they are helping other parts of the township,” commissioners President John Merhottein said.