Coal Creek Passes Test Two Years After Devastating Flood

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PLYMOUTH -- People who live and work near Coal Creek in Luzerne County said Friday that they are relieved repair work and upgrades are complete, nearly two years after devastating flash flooding.

"It was deja vu all over again, because it's almost two years to the day that we had that terrible storm," said Plymouth Township Supervisor Gail Conrad. "I don't have a doubt in my mind that without this, the Coal Creek area would have had very serious problems today."

State Senator John Yudichak met with neighbors and representatives of state and Luzerne County agencies, who organized the $1.3 million creek bed restoration project.

According to Yudichak, about half of the project was paid for with state aid and the rest came from private and public funding.

Roads were ripped apart, cars were washed away and several homes were knocked off their foundations when Coal Creek roared out of its banks following severe storms in 2011.

Despite $5 million in damage, Plymouth Mayor Dorothy Petrosky said the mess left behind did not qualify for federal disaster aid.

"Everything is frustrating when it doesn't go the way you want it to go. But, it took a lot of hard work and it took a lot of people who donated a lot of their time and their energy to make sure that it did work," said Petrosky.

Mary Stanitis told Newswatch 16 that she is relieved to see the repairs and upgrades completed, but she hopes there will be funding in the future to reinforce the creek walls behind her home, which lines one stretch of Coal Street.

"We feel very left out. We were fortunate that our wall did not fall down during the flood. But, we did not get any help to fix our wall," said Stanitis.

"Underneath the road, on the other side of our house, is really eating away. The creek is underneath the road, really eating away at it, especially when it comes up high like it did last night."