Last updated: April 29. 2014 1:48AM - 1918 Views
Karissa Blackburn kblackburn@civitasmedia.com

Experts say that the construction on the Guyandotte channel will protect more than 250 homes and businesses from flood damage.
Experts say that the construction on the Guyandotte channel will protect more than 250 homes and businesses from flood damage.
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Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin attended the Island Creek Flood Protection Project dedication ceremony on Mon., April 28.

The project, which was authorized for construction by the Water Resources Development Act of 1986 but was then put on hold due to lack of non-Federal sponsorship until 1998 when local interest was renewed and additional funding was appropriated, includes widening the Island Creek channel to an 80-foot bottom width for a distance of 3,600 feet upstream of its confluence with the Guyandotte River. The plan includes a channel modification and a Flood Warning System.

The Logan County Commission and the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management agreed to serve as the non-Federal sponsors so the project could finally jump into action. The non-Federal sponsor is responsible for providing all lands, easements, rights-of-way, relocations, and disposal sites for the project and required to pay at least five percent of the total project cost in cash.

The plan provides between 10-year and 20-year frequency flood protection and has a positive benefit-to-cost ratio. Experts say it will protect more than 250 homes and businesses from flood damage.

Governor Tomblin greeted attnedees in a joking manner stating that it was a great day for the dedication [due to the rain].

“I remember, as a boy in Logan Co., coming into Logan and looking over to Island Creek to see businesses with water halfway up them,” says Tomblin.

He went on to say that this project was not something that could happen over night, in fact, it has been over 30 years in the making, but it was definitely worth the time and effort.

There were many other officials who celebrated the dedication today including Senator Jay Rockefeller; President of the Logan County Commission, Dan Godby; Agriculture Commissioner, Walt Helmick; Senator Art Kirkendoll; Col. Redding, Department Commissioner of Huntington District Army Corp of Engineers; and many other local officials.

“With a solid federal, state and county partnership, we broke ground four years ago on this spot for an almost $40 million investment. After decades of persistent, repeated, exhausting, frustrating, tremendously expensive and downright dangerous flooding, the HEAT was on to do something. We can thank Heeter Construction for answering the U.S Army Corps of Engineers call to action,” says Rockefeller. “We can’t put a price on the damage flooding does to families and homeowners, but the Corps calculates that this project will save us almost $4 million a year in reduced costs with less flooding. By my calculations, that means in ten short years, the American taxpayers investment in this community, in its families and its businesses will have their investment paid back in full.”

Each speaker thanked the contributors to this Federal, State and Local partnership that will be of great benefit to Logan Co.

The project, which is estimated to cost approximately $40 million, has been completed in approximately four years since the groundbreaking ceremony in 2010.

“It is my firm belief that one ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” says David Heeter of Heeter Construction. “I’m so thankful that the Corp chose our company to oversee this project. That they believed in us that much.”

A full list of cintributors and stakeholders includes: the Army Corp of Engineers, Logan County Commission for channel modification, WV Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Senator Joe Manchin III, Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, Congressman Nick J. Rahall II, the WV Conservation Agency, the Guyan District Conservation Agency, Heeter Construction and residents and business owners along Island Creek.

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