City to replace damaged culverts near Mill Creek Elementary School
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Utilities Department will replace three old and rusted culverts to improve road safety with the Sinclair Road Culvert Replacement Project.
Engineering Specialist Tom Wellman said the culverts, which carry water underneath Sinclair Road, have been badly damaged by debris.
"The bottom of at least one of them has rusted entirely through," Wellman said. "The road has flooded numerous times over the last 10 years."
Wellman said one of the worst consequences of failing culverts is that cars are damaged since the roads flood more often.
"When you're driving along on the road and you see water over the road, and if the culvert has failed, you don't necessarily know that there's a hole there," Wellman said. "In a bad flood, it's steep enough that it could sweep a car off the road."
Wellman said there has been no major opposition to the project, despite it temporarily shutting down Sinclair Road near Mill Creek Elementary School.
"I think that it's relatively easy to route around, and we'll have a detour plan with our project," he said.
Wellman said the utilities department hopes to have the culverts replaced and the road open again within three weeks time.
Wellman said funding for the Sinclair Road Culvert Replacement Project will come from the stormwater utility fund. He said the project is in preliminary design, so there is no set budget or start date for construction yet.
Wellman assured Columbia residents the city will take action quickly if the failing culverts put drivers at risk.
"If it starts showing signs of weakening, then we'll be ready to move it [the project] up in the schedule," Wellman said.