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Flood plans hit setback

Monday, February 6, 2012

Mayor Jim Orr told members of the Monett City Council's Advisory Board that finding a solution to downtown flooding hit a major setback during recent conversations with Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad officials.

The city was seeking to acquire property along the northern edge of the rail line to build an alternate channel to Kelly Creek as proposed by the engineering firm of Olsson and Associates.

Orr said the railroad wants to maintain 100 feet of clearance from the center of its active line and the edge of its property. The railroad now wants to add another line through the Monett yard, which will expand the buffer into land that might have been available earlier.

"Our hope is to show them they will have less down time with flooding under control," Orr said. "They told us this is the fastest growing line on the Burlington-Northern system."

According to Orr, railroad officials said they would be open to letting the city install culverts under the first railroad tressel. City Administrator Dennis Pyle estimated such a project would cost $1 million.

Orr has asked Eric Dove, water resources engineer with Olsson and Associates, to see if the bypass channel can still work if the city took out Front Street.

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