OTTAWA — The three-pronged approach being used by members of the Blanchard River Flood Mitigation Coalition to deal with flooding along the Blanchard River is making progress, with one portion already completed.
During a coalition meeting Wednesday at the Putnam Educational Service Center, Clark Lynn Army of the Maumee Watershed Conservancy District reported that the Road I-9 bridge modifications are now complete, with the embankment now lowered about six feet back to its pre-1990 level.
“The guard rails and the gates are all up,” he said. “We did a walkthrough with the trustees, and they’re all cool with it.”
Army was also pleased with the final price tag for the bridge work, with the entire project costing just more than $573,000, more than $200,000 under the original engineering estimate.
“That’s how we like to do things, on time and under budget,” he said.
The next step is creating a diversion channel along the lower Blanchard River northwest of Ottawa. While Army hopes to begin construction next spring, the district is in land rights acquisition negotiations with affected landowners.
“The X factor really is the landowners,” he said. “We’re right in the middle of it right now.”
In the meantime, the design for the channel is now 100 percent completed, Army said, with no downstream impact projected and a positive cost to benefit ratio.
“That goes back to the work of the Army Corps of Engineers,” he said.
The third approach involves the village of Ottawa purchasing flood-prone properties to remove the structures, giving floodwaters more area to cover before coming into homes.
“With money we received from the state, we have one property purchased and one in process,” village flood plain administrator Denise Balbaugh said. “One did decline and said they didn’t want to be a part of the process.”
Balbaugh also reported that the village has a list of pre-approved properties ready to move on, but those will have to wait until after the diversion channel is completed, meaning that the property acquisition process is still potentially two to three years from being completed.
“From my understanding, nothing will go to acquisitions until all the bills are paid from the diversion,” she said.
Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0390 or on Twitter @Lima_CKelly.