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Greencastle gets grant to remedy U.S. 11 flooding

December 07, 1999|By RICHARD F. BELISLE, Waynesboro

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - Prolonged or heavy rains have resulted in water pooling below a railroad overpass on U.S. 11 in Greencastle's south end. The result is blocked traffic for as long as three or four days and flooded basements for Robert A. "Buck" Weller and his neighbors.

Help is on the way.

The Greencastle Borough Council said this week it is getting an $820,000 state grant to fix the problem. The project will cost about $1 million, Greencastle Mayor Frank Mowen said. The rest of the money will come from the borough, Antrim Township and Franklin County governments, he said.

High water under the overpass has plagued residents and borough officials since 1955, when the U.S. 11 bypass around Greencastle opened, said Borough Administrator Kenneth Myers.

Residents and borough officials alike say the problem seems to get worse as new development paves over more and more water-absorbing land. This leads to even more water accumulating under the railroad bridge and onto some properties along South Carlisle Street.

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The problem has been growing in severity since the mid-1970s because of increased development, Myers said.

Clogged drain pipes add to the problem, he said.

Weller, who lives at 460 S. Carlisle St., said water gets into his basement whenever the ditch that runs along his property overflows. "It happens every time we get a hard rain," he said. "The more they build, the more water that runs down here."

Weller's is one of a half-dozen South Carlisle Street homes that are severely affected by the high water, Myers said.

At times the water under the overpass is four to five feet deep on both lanes of U.S. 11 and can take three days to drain after the rain stops. Traffic has to be rerouted to Interstate 81 or through borough streets.

The money will pay for a new, "very large storm sewer that will capture water upstream and redirect it to Big Spring," Myers said. Big Spring crosses U.S. 11 about 300 yards south of the overpass.

Bids are expected to go out by late spring or early summer. Construction should take three to four months, Myers said.

The $820,000 grant comes from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development's Community Revitalization Assistance Program, Myers said. The borough applied for the grant on Oct. 1. It was secured with the help of State Rep. Patrick Fleagle, R-Franklin, he said.

"This is something we've needed," Mowen said. "We've been working for years trying to find a solution, and this may be the solution."

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