ABMB was involved in this project to create a new lake in Madison, Mississippi
Work is under way on a project that promises to prevent flooding and provide more recreational opportunities for the city of Madison.
Construction began this spring on a 42-acre lake on city-owned property along Madison Avenue.
The project, once it’s finished, will stop flooding in the Sandalwood and Treasure Cove neighborhoods. It will also provide a new venue for activities such as fishing, swimming and paddle-boating.
Crews with Hemphill Construction were on the site early Friday afternoon digging up and hauling off dirt before a storm blew through. A small mountain of what appeared to be rip rap sat at one entrance at the site, and heavy equipment running along the rear portion of the property was stirring up dust.
Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler said the city decided to move forward with the project after being unable to obtain funding to clean out a portion of Brashear Creek downstream. During heavy storms, the creek has been known to cause flooding in Treasure Cove and Sandalwood.
“People in those neighborhoods have experienced flooding for 20 years,” she said. “So we decided to address the issue upstream.” The project is being funded with part of a $15 million bond taken out by the city about a year ago for road and other improvements.
Brian Smith, president of the Treasure Cove Homeowners Association, is pleased that the lake is being built. “We don’t have a situation where it floods whenever it rains,” he said. “But in the spring, when we get two to three inches in an hour, there are some houses that experience problems.”
Treasure Cove has 98 residences and is located near the Natchez Trace.
Part of the problem can be credited to development upstream, which has caused more water to run off into Brashear Creek.
The other part of the problem is the fact that obstructions in Brashear keep water from flowing downstream.
Once it’s finished, the lake will serve as a huge drainage basin for Brashear, significantly reducing the amount of water that will flow downstream.
Public Works Director Denson Robinson said Hemphill Construction was awarded a $1.2 million contract late last year to build the lake, a dam and a discharge structure. The project is expected take about two years to complete. Once the dirtwork is completed, the lake will fill naturally from Brashear and rainwater.
In all, eight bids were submitted, ranging from more than $4 million to the low bid submitted by Hemphill.
Before bulldozers and backhoes could descend on the property, though, the city had to complete three or four years of engineering work. Because a small section of wetlands had to be mitigated, the city also had to obtain permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.
The city also had to address some water and sewer pipes that run under the lake.
“We did a lot of soil samples,” Robinson said. “We had to make sure the property had a good clay base so water wouldn’t seep through it.” Tests determined that a clay base was located about 10 to 12 feet deep.
As part of their contract with the city, Hemphill is being allowed to keep between 300,000 and 350,000 yards of dirt. Robinson said tests showed that the dirt being removed from the property is good for road and other construction projects.
Director of Community Improvement Alan Hoops said the lake was engineered by ABMB Engineering. Plans eventually call for adding walking trails and other recreational improvements for residents to enjoy.