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Roadwork in Merrick planned next year to reduce flooding

Drainage work is planned next spring along Merrick

Drainage work is planned next spring along Merrick Road, seen last Friday, to reduce flooding and minimize storm water runoff during heavy rain. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Hempstead Town officials will begin drainage work next year on roads in the Meadowbrook Corridor in Merrick to reduce flooding and minimize pollution to nearby waterways.

The town was awarded $767,000 — including $709,000 for design and construction — by the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery through a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Renewal Disaster Recovery Program.

Beginning in spring 2019, the town plans to install four large underground chambers beneath Merrick streets to collect storm runoff and heavy rains to reduce street flooding.

The leaching chambers will be added beneath Webster and Camp avenues, Michalicki Place and Reid Avenue in Merrick to divert flooding on access points to Merrick Road, which was submerged during superstorm Sandy, town officials said.

“This will be a game changer in terms of controlling flooding during major storm and tidal events,” Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen said.

Town officials said the project will prevent runoff from carrying pollutants from street pavement into local creeks by filtering and holding storm water runoff on site before it’s diverted back into green spaces.

The grant will also cover restoring local creeks along Meadowbrook Parkway, by reconnecting waterways to the natural floodplains and restoring wetland to reduce erosion and future flooding.

“The Bellmore and Merrick communities identified flooding as a chronic problem and after thoroughly studying feasible approaches, we made funding this project a priority,” said Jeanmarie Buffett, director of GOSR’s NY Rising Long Island Community Reconstruction.

There are more than 59,000 vehicles on average that travel daily along the interchange between Merrick Road and the Meadowbrook Parkway, according to the New York State Department of Transportation.

The Meadowbrook Corridor’s low elevation and connection with Merrick Bay renders the area vulnerable to flooding from extreme weather events, including heavy rains and tidal surges.

Merrick Road was impassable between South Freeport, Merrick and Bellmore where it meets the parkway because of floodwaters from the corridor.

“Freeport, Merrick and Bellmore were all severely impacted by Hurricane Irene and superstorm Sandy and even five years later these communities struggle with every storm surge,” said Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney, whose district includes parts of those communities.

Hempstead Town officials are also adding separate flood improvements in Baldwin.

Town board members last month approved a $2.1 million project funded through community development block grants to raise 2,215 linear feet of road to reduce flooding.

Work will focus on Washington Place, Hayes Place, Van Buren Place and Jackson Place on the west side of Milburn Creek and Baldwin Bay.

The project will also include adding check valves and replacing bulkheads, curbs and sidewalks.

Meadowbrook Corridor drainage project

  • $767,000 grant to install drainage improvements in Merrick along Webster and Camp avenues, Michalicki Place and Reid Avenue
  • $2.1 million in Baldwin for drainage improvements on Washington Place, Hayes Place, Van Buren Place and Jackson Place

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