Andy Barlow

Andy Barlow

Wilson County municipalities continue their fight against flooding as recent rainstorms created flooding in several areas. 

The last major rain event of the year brought about 2.5 inches of rain to the Nashville region, which set a record for Dec. 29. It raised the Nashville area’s yearly rainfall to 64.27 inches, making 2019 the third-wettest year on record, according to the National Weather Service Nashville office. 

The event flooded several areas in Wilson County, although no damage was reported, according to county emergency response agencies. 

Wilson County Sheriff’s Office officials said a handful of roads were deemed impassable during the rainstorm, including portions of East Old Laguardo Road, Trousdale Ferry Pike, Old Rome Pike, Taylorsville Road, Bellwood Road, Old Lebanon Dirt Road and Beckwith Road.

In Lebanon, rainfall caused a portion of South Cumberland Street near the Lebanon Square to flood as Lebanon Police officers closed the roadway, which has been susceptible to flooding for decades. 

The area is a part of a current study underway by the Nashville District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that is expected to conclude this year. The study, which kicked off in 2015, will examine the Bartons Creek and Sinking Creek watershed to reduce flood risk and provide city officials with new flood mapping for the streams. 

Army Corps engineers said the city has experienced flooding every 10 to 20 years since 1928, including 1989 and 2010. Floodwaters in the Lebanon Square reached as high as three feet in May 1979, four feet in August 1939 and almost three feet in May 2010. 

Sinking Creek runs under the west side of Lebanon Square and flows under several multiple story structures in the downstream area. Although it appears dry in areas upstream of the Square, Sinking Creek is a very flashy stream and flash floods rise quickly.

Lebanon Mayor Bernie Ash said the city continues to monitor ditches and other areas to make sure they are clear of debris to help water flow appropriately. 

Ash said the city is still waiting for the results of the Corp of Engineers flood risk management study and has not received a timeline for when it will receive it.

 

Similar issues in Mt. Juliet

In Mt. Juliet, police officials said high waters were reported in areas that are known to flood when the city receives prolonged, heavy rain, including Belinda Parkway, Hillview Drive, Plowson Road and Old Lebanon Dirt Road. 

Mt. Juliet Public Works Director Andy Barlow said the city is looking at several ways to deal with flooding issues in the area.

“We are attacking this in a variety of ways. Mostly, we handle problem areas as they arise with our own crews,” Barlow said. “This can mean cleaning out ditches, culverts or drains. In some cases, we have to replace culverts if we discover extensive damage.”

Barlow said the work to prevent flooding on longer stretches of roadways is more extensive, including Old Lebanon Dirt Road, which will likely be handled as a part of a reconstruction project that features road widening and realignment. 

“For the future, we are looking into the possibility of developing a Stormwater Utility that would create dedicated funding, staff, and resources to handle the issues we typically face,” Barlow said. “That one is obviously going to take some time due to the background work and public involvement required.”

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