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AVALON – Avalon’s north end drainage project was set to move to the final design. The estimated $9.5 million effort was intended to relieve serious flooding in the borough’s low-lying northern portion, sometimes referred to as the “bowl.”   

The project included the establishment of a much larger stormwater pump station, at 11th Street, demolition of the existing 22nd Street pump station, a new outfall pipe that would traverse a path under the dunes and push out into the inlet through the Eighth Street jetty, and an enhanced gravity pipe drainage route along Avalon Avenue.

Avalon Borough Council discussed a proposal from Thomas Thornton, of Mott MacDonald, July 8 for the final design on the project.

Although the council had several reports on the project since Mayor Martin Pagliughi announced the start of a drainage study for the north end in 2017, the project’s price tag was always a hurdle.

Early estimates, beginning with a 2018 public presentation, were consistently high. By fall 2019, new recommendations were being developed by the engineering firm, including using one larger pump station at 11th Street and expanding the use of gravity systems.

In the end, the redesign didn't accomplish any reduction in the estimated price. At the July 8 meeting, the governing body halted the project.

Discussion among council members indicated they felt the project was too large of an investment at this time. Since the estimates were always at the same level, it appears that the council hoped a redesign would significantly reduce the price.

The project was initiated because the borough’s existing drainage infrastructure is demonstrating that it can't deal effectively with the more frequent intense rain events. When first announcing the north end study, Pagliughi expressed concern that flooding during these intense events defeated “as-designed performance by our pump stations and storm sewer system.”

Council members expressed concern that other areas of the borough are also experiencing similar flooding, requiring a broader consideration and prioritization of investment.

To contact Vince Conti, email vconti@cmcherald.com.

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