PORTAGE | The Portage Utility Services Board this week decided to look at alternative ways to handle flooding along Willowcreek Road south of U.S. 6.
The board approved paying DLZ of Hammond $7,400 to provide a supplemental report on alternatives to constructing a diversion ditch on the east side of Willowcreek Road.
Director of Public Works A.J. Monroe said the city received a bid a year ago to create a large ditch. That bid, which was rejected, was for $528,538, but did not include the cost of land acquisition. Monroe told the board the cost of the project, if the city decides to move ahead with it, could be between $750,000 and $1 million.
He said he is concerned that may not be the best way to spend the city's money. In addition, while the city had received permits for the ditch's construction, it is presently in court to condemn property needed for the project. The property owner has rejected the city's offer to buy the land.
"We need to step back and determine if this will be the best use of resources. We need to investigate all alternatives," said Monroe, adding one alternative may be to buy undeveloped land to construct other drainage measures.
Monroe said he didn't know how much land would need to be purchased, but that it would be east of Willowcreek Road and both north and south of County Road 700 North. DLZ's new contract would look at natural alternative detention configurations and provide models to determine if the alternatives would work.
"So many square miles of water is making its way north," said Monroe. The area of Willowcreek Road and County Road 700 North floods during heavy rains, making the roads impassible.