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A member of the City of St. Augustine’s utility crew prepares to install the new 36" storm water pipe at the intersection of Orange and Riberia Streets
Anyone who drives Riberia Street between King and Orange Streets on a regular basis knows that a good heavy rain will flood nearly every intersection along the seven block stretch. The reason is simple: the storm lines are not big enough to handle the tremendous amount of water funneled into it by the surrounding streets.
After a great deal of study and planning, the City of St. Augustine’s Utilities Department began intensive work in July to correct the problem by replacing the storm water lines at the intersection of Riberia and Orange Streets. In fact, that specific location had been identified in the City’s long term master plan as one of the top ten stormwater priorities throughout the City.
Work at the location was completed during the second week of September with great success and included the installation of a pipeline three feet in diameter, capable of carrying 35,000 gallons of water per minute away from the intersection.
Quoc Mai, utilities engineer for the City, and the key designer of the new system was pleased after the first big downpour to see the new installations at work.
"The performance of the new drainage system far exceeds our design expectations," said Mai. "That’s what every engineer hopes for, for something to work better than you even hoped for."
John Regan, director of utilities, echoed Mai’s comments.
"It feels good to solve the drainage problem at this particular intersection, especially before the height of hurricane season" stated Regan. "However, every street that intersects Riberia needs drainage improvements. The work at the Orange and Riberia Streets intersection which was just the first of several separate projects that, when tied together, will greatly improve storm drainage throughout the area."
Currently City crews from both the Utilities and Public Works Departments have moved on to the intersection of Lemon and Riberia Streets for work that is scheduled to be completed in early November.
In addition to upgrading the stormwater lines, crews are also replacing waterlines, repaving the streets and replacing sidewalks in each location.
Regan noted that in every instance residents and business operators in the area have been understanding and helpful during the planning stages and construction periods. City staff has held informational meetings prior to construction to ensure that those affected by the work, and those who will benefit the most, are well aware of the process and the schedules of the work.
"The long term prize of improvement requires a short term price of inconvenience," Regan said. "Those affected have shown a lot of understanding of the issues and what’s involved in meeting these challenges."
Anyone needing additional information can contact either John Regan or Quoc Mai during business hours at 904-825-1040.