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Flood control effort is progressing slowly

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Overtures have been made with the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad on a new flood control strategy for downtown Monett.

Eric Dove, professional engineer with Olsson Associates, reported meetings have been held with railroad officials over Olsson's proposal to build a bypass channel for Kelly Creek on the south side of Front Street. Additional modifications to the two railroad bridges crossing the creek have also been discussed.

"They were open to the ideas," Dove said. "We'll just need to see how the funding works out. Anytime they don't say no, it's probably good."

Last week Dove submitted an updated analysis to the railroad detailing how the proposed bypass channel would affect the water flow under the railroad bridges. He said railroad officials wanted to know if the proposal would increase the water volume.

With documents from the Barry County Assessor's office, Dove also provided documentation on the outlots owned along the side of the tracks by the railroad that the city would like to purchase for construction of the bypass channel.

Property acquisition from the railroad usually takes one to two years, Dove said.

According to City Administrator Dennis Pyle, a proposal submitted to the railroad's Springfield office would have to be forwarded to Kansas City, then to Minneapolis, Minn., to Dallas, Texas, and then to the desk of Warren Buffett, whose company, Berkshire Hathaway Inc., owns the railroad.

"The railroad is always slow," Dove said. "We need to answer their questions as we approach the bridges before we work on improvements upstream. Once those are in focus, the rest will come.

"We will reach milestones, and as we get there, we can advance on the design. I'm optimistic at this point. We're on the right track," Dove added.

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