Hawley Getting Flood Protection Fix

HAWLEY, Pa. -- The Lackawaxen River is up quite a bit right now, thanks to days of rain.

In Hawley, a levee stretches across town to protect the homes and businesses from floods, but under the levee lurk problems that need to be fixed.

We found Stanley Bartleson and his two dogs after their walk along the levee. Bartleson lives in the borough and trusts the system of pipes, or culverts, under the levee to drain potential floodwaters.

"Evidently, the pipes are getting old and rusty," Bartleson said. "Army Corps of Engineers put it in here. Now after all these years, that's what they're doing here, replacing all these culverts here."

There are 10 culverts running underneath the levee and out to the Lackawaxen River with a gate that would stop any flowback water from coming into the borough, but a recent inspection found some of those pipes are failing and need to be replaced.

Hawley leaders held a ceremonial groundbreaking for the project which will be paid entirely with roughly $500,000 in state grant money.

"The project cost is practically the same amount as our yearly budget," said council member Michelle Rojas. "We're a small community and the taxpayers would never have been able to shoulder that burden."

The new pipes are near the levee, ready for the project to start, taking out some old, rusted pipes and giving folks in Hawley peace of mind.

"We're almost in a bowl, and every time it rains or it thaws, we get all the water and we need it released from the borough," said Hawley Mayor Kevin Hawk.  "Without the levee pipes repaired, the water would be trapped in the borough."

Crews will start repairing those pipes soon and hope to wrap up later this fall.

If Hawley did not make the repairs, residents near the levee would have to pay for flood insurance which can be quite costly.