Pine Bluffs Post - Serving all of Eastern Laramie County since 1908

By Zach Spadt
Pine Bluffs Post 

Town right-of-way major issue in Burns flood prevention proposal


Burns town councilors heard a proposal during their monthly meeting Tuesday that could help prevent flooding, but the proposal would also include town residents losing sizable portions of their yards, which officials say extend onto the town's right-of-way.

Burns Town Engineer Scott Cowley said due to the town's flat nature, the best option to mitigate flooding would be to engineer the town's roads to better drain the town in the event of a rain storm. Cowley said best way to accomplish this would be by crowning the roads and engineering ditches into the existing right-of-way, similar to rural county roads. There is, however, somewhat of problem with this solution: Over the years, residents' yards have extended several yards into the town's right-of-way. In some cases, residents fences, gardens and even a building has extended into the right-of-way.

“If we were to implement this plan, you would have a lot of people in town who would not be real happy,” Cowley said. He added that residents yards have extended into the right-of-way for decades “where we need to cut the ditch.”

Town Councilor Harvey Humphrey said the issue is something the town's government has always been aware of.

“I know this is a big concern for a lot of citizens.

“It's an issue and it always has been. We've all known in the back of our minds that this needs to be corrected,” Humphrey said, adding, “The problem is not an easy fix.”

Cowley said the town could have public meeting to address residents' concerns should the town move forward with the project. The proposed project would be funded largely through sixth penny sales tax revenue.

The flat nature of the town, the slope is only .5 percent, plays a major role in preventing floods during heavy rainstorms. Installing the ditches and crowning the roads to drain the town to the north, is the best, most economical solution Cowley said. Burns has not experienced major flooding in recent years.

“I'm really surprised there haven't been more drainage problems,” Cowley said.

If the town were to move forward with the project, more engineering tasks including surveying and cost estimates will need to occur.

The council did not act on the proposal.


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