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Flooding help cost estimate climbs to $25 million

August 03, 2007|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. - The cost to eliminate the storm water floods that have inundated Inwood, W.Va., and the areas around the southern Berkeley County community is expected to be more than $25 million, County Commissioner William L. Stubblefield said Wednesday.

"It's an expensive project and I don't think we're going to be find any one source to fund it," Stubblefield said.

The projected cost exceeds the previous $6 million to $10 million provided to county commissioners in 2005 because the volume of storm water flow was underestimated in a previous modeling study by about 50 percent, and the cost of securing easements for drainage routes have increased with property values, Stubblefield said.

One or two homes appear to be directly affected and might need to be relocated or modified in some way, Stubblefield said.

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Berkeley County Public Service Sewer District executive director Curtis B. Keller said Wednesday that a "facility plan" for the storm water project by Thrasher Engineering is expected to be completed in the next month or so.

The project will affect a more than 100-acre area centered in and around the community, and Keller said officials are taking steps to ensure the drainage infrastructure doesn't cause problems elsewhere.

With about $1.6 million set aside for the project, including $400,000 announced this week by Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., Keller said he expects at least some of the work to be completed in phases, if possible.

Capito previously identified $600,000 for the project, Stubblefield said.

Stubblefield said he also planned to ask for more help from U.S. Sens. Jay Rockefeller and Robert C. Byrd and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Water Association, among others.

"Thankfully, Congresswoman Capito has found funding in the past to do various engineering studies and continues to secure funds to help solve the problem," Stubblefield said.

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