Flood Concerns As Snow Melts In Port Carbon; New Bridge To Come

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PORT CARBON -- The warmer temperatures are helping to melt those huge piles of snow left all over our area, and while that’s a welcome sight, it does bring concerns of flooding.

With rain expected in our forecast, some municipalities are keeping a close watch on small streams and creeks; That includes Port Carbon in Schuylkill County.

In Port Carbon, the aging Pottsville Street Bridge sits over Mill Creek.

While the waterway isn't intimidating right now, people living around it in this quiet Schuylkill County community know all too well of the damage it can do when it floods.

“We do worry, all the time, we knew that when we built it, so,” said Sharon Hartman.

Hartman and her husband built their house in January of 2006.

Then in June of that year, Mill Creek flooded out her house and several others in the borough.

“We had six feet in our basement, but my daughter right across the street had first floor damage, so it was horrible, really was, we felt violated, you know?”

While the hike in temperatures is helping to reduce the large piles of snow, that snow is quickly turning into water and causing fears the creek will overflow.

“I just said that to my brother and his wife, just wait until all this starts going,” said Kathy Hinkle.

“We had flooding here a couple of years ago and we don`t want it to happen again,” said Luanne Mengle.

Port Carbon Mayor Chuck Joy said they are taking those flood fears seriously.

“The concerns are genuine, I can relate because I was one of the ones that were affect by the `06 flood,” said Joy. “But we are on top of it, our EMA coordinator keeps us up to date on what`s going on. Our council`s been working great with us.”

And improvements are on the way.

PennDOT is replacing the nearly 90-year-old Pottsville Street Bridge after it was declared structurally deficient.

The mayor said that will help reduce potential flooding issues.

“It`s going to have a little bit of an arch to it from my understanding which is going to help the waterway underneath to prevent problems we had last time from debris floating down into river started a block, and then of course it backs all the water up,” said Joy.

PennDOT said replacing the bridge in Port Carbon is a roughly $1.8 million project, expected to start mid-March and be completed by October.

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