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Falkville discusses options for Culver Road

The Falkville Town Council discussed the two main options for replacing the culvert on Culver Road, which has been set as a top priority for 2015.

The project has been discussed for a few years, but the town recently received a Community Development Block Grant to begin planning the repairs.

Currently, the culvert is in dire need of upgrades, according to County Commissioner Don Stisher.

“The way the culvert is now, it will eventually collapse,” Stisher said. “Big trucks are using it for industrial purposes, and it will not hold up for much longer.”

The project engineer, Russ Roberts of Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood Inc., was at the work session to help answer questions during the discussion.

Stisher explained the two choices the council has regarding Culver Road.

“You can either take FEMA’s advice and replace the old culvert with a new one that holds the same amount of cubic feet of water,” Stisher said, “or you can decide to go against FEMA’s recommendation and build a bigger and better one that would withstand more flood water. Russ has an obligation to tell you that this area is considered a floodplain and FEMA feels it might allow more water than the area can handle downstream. FEMA would require a $30,000 field study that would take as much as nine months to complete in order for them to ensure a bigger culvert. You can still build the bigger culvert without FEMA’s approval, but you would have to release Russ and GMC from all liability.”

Roberts said going against FEMA’s recommendations without the field study was possible, but the town would be responsible for the structure.

“Others downstream can file suit if their insurable structures flood and realize the difference is your new culvert,” Russ said. “This is unlikely, but the possibility is still there.”

Stisher said he only saw a few problems with continuing with the bigger culvert without the field study.

“The only thing we should have to worry about is insurance coverage if it’s not approved by FEMA,” Stisher said. I don’t think the floodplain will cause any problems because the December 1990 flood was a 100-year flood and the surrounding area didn’t reach any houses. If the area was going to be further developed, I might suggest going ahead with the field study to get it out of the way, but this property won’t be developed in our day, so I don’t see any reason why it’s necessary.”

Replacing the culvert with one like they already have at Culver Road would fix the safety issue of the existing culvert, but it would not help with drainage issues.

The council plans to have a legal consultation with town attorney Larry Madison and more information about insurance on the upgraded culvert before reaching a decision. They hope to consult with Madison in the next week.

Hartselle Utilities recently alerted the council of a two-cent increase in their water prices to take effect in March. They are currently paying 14 cents per 1,000 gallons, and the increase will make the price 16 cents per 1,000 gallons. The council hopes to incur the increase rather than raising Falkville’s water prices again, which was increased by 10 percent last year. They will evaluate the town’s water numbers and make a decision closer to March.

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