The Lebanon City Council is slated to vote Tuesday on a plan of action to address flooding in several at-risk areas of the city: Mulberry and Burdock Street, Hallcroft Estates, Cumberland Drive, West Spring Street and South Greenwood.

City officials first received design proposals for drainage improvements in those areas last year. Councilors will be voting on whether to spend a combined $111,520 for preliminary work on three projects, which would eventually lead to final price tags.

“The final plans in that professional services agreement as far as the dollar amounts that are in there, that part’s not in there, ” Engineering Director Regina Santana said during the council’s work session Thursday. “There’s no way for them to give us the cost for that until we give them guidance on which direction we want them to go.”

Santana said the city bid those specific projects out to give its in-house drainage workers breathing room. The decision was part of a long-term flood response plan developed after a major flooding event in September 2020.

“The project areas that we picked are bigger than what we want to tackle here,” she said. “These here, they’re such big drainage areas that it would have taken up way too much of our time to be able to get other stuff done. The areas that we picked, the drainage systems through there affect a lot of people and they’re where we get the brunt of our calls.”

If the city approves the preliminary work on those projects, Santana said it could take three to four months before any next steps.

Ward 3 Councilor Camille Burdine said she hopes the work can shed light on why particular areas of the city have a higher flood risk.

“I think what we would like to see is more consulting maybe coming in and maybe looking at the infrastructure from a whole,” she said. “Is it a creek problem, a homeowner problem, is it just old infrastructure? I’m all for hiring these consultants and seeing what our real issues are and then determining whose plate we need to put that on.”

City Transportation/Traffic Engineer Kristen Rice also discussed a potential project aimed at addressing safety on Woodall Road off Highway 109. The growing area has a creek running underneath the highway that poses a flood risk.

“There’s been a recent influx, and there’s been some concerns recently on flooding, traffic operations, safety,” she said. “Anytime we start thinking about safety and operations, those kind of quickly become a top priority.”

Rice is proposing a connection to extend Woodall Road to the area opposite Cedar Creek Lane, which could work alongside TDOT’s efforts to install a traffic signal at the Highway 109 and Callis Road intersection.

“There’s a couple of reasons that we think this is a good improvement,” she said. “One, it gives another access to the area so when that area is flooded up there on the north end that there’s another way to access all these residential units back here. And also, on the operations side of it, it’s an additional access to kind of split up that traffic during those heavy traffic times.”

That item will not be appearing on Tuesday’s council agenda, and the potential price tag and funding mechanisms are still being worked out. Rice said the city is expecting over $2 million in impact fees from developments in the area, which could help with any improvements.

“We’ve been looking at this for a few weeks now, and I know they were working on this a long time before I got here,” Lebanon Mayor Rick Bell said. “I think getting this designed is important sometime in the near future.”

The Lebanon City Council’s next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday and will be conducted electronically. Members of the public wishing to attend or provide comments are asked to contact Mike Collinsworth at mcollinsworth@lebanontn.org or 615-443-2839 ext. 2401 by 5 p.m. on Monday.

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