WILKES-BARRE, Pa. -- It's calm now along Solomon Creek in south Wilkes-Barre, but on Barney Street, which crosses over the creek, flooding has been an issue for homes and businesses.
"Well, it's always difficult because you have to clean the mud off the floors and everything's soaked, you know," described Bill Obeid, owner of Abe's Hot Dogs on Barney Street. "You're four feet in water after one of those floods."
State lawmakers from Luzerne County say they had business owners such as Obeid in mind when they worked to get funding for a $10 million project to repair and enhance flood protection along Solomon Creek.
"To make sure the businesses and most importantly the lives along Solomon Creek in south Wilkes-Barre, make sure those lives are protected," explained State Sen. John Yudichak (D-14th).
Part of the project includes detachable bridge gates that engineers say will help keep floodwaters out of homes and businesses.
"Many people are looking at it now as an innovative way to increase capacity of the channel because putting up a stop-log barrier across here in the time of a flood takes too much time. These you just unbolt them, swing them back, it takes all of about 20 minutes," said lead engineer Tom Lawson.
Engineers tell Newswatch 16 phase one of this project included new retaining walls and innovative bridge gates. Now, work will begin on phase two which includes more walls and a pumping station.
"That will drain the roadway areas when the water can't get out during flooding situations on the creek," added Lawson.
"It will feel awfully good if it keeps the water out. You know if these things work, if the gates work, it will be wonderful improvement to this part of town," said Obeid.
Project leaders say phase two is already underway. The hope is to continue improvements on Solomon Creek all the way to Hanover Township. There is no word yet when the next steps will be completed.