Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Mayor Briley resurrects $125M downtown flood wall and protection system proposal

by Rod Williams - Mayor David Briley is reviving the proposal to build a massive flood wall to protect downtown from

a future flood like occurred in 2010.

Briley has added the flood wall back to the city's proposed capital improvements budget. This proposal has been rejected by the Council on three previous occasions. The Capital improvements budget is not really a budget but a planning document that list projects the city would like to build, list a revenue source for funding the projects and prioritizes projects.

The 2010 flood of Nashville produced 2 billion dollars in damages, however it was not all downtown.  The wall would only protect downtown but everyone would pay for it by an additional fee added to their water bill.  The 2010 flood was considered a "1000-year flood" meaning the likelihood of such a flood occurring is only once in a thousand years.

The wall would consist of supports, (fence post) permanently in place and in the event of a flood, large slats would be placed in the grooves in the supports, creating the wall.  In essence the wall would be constructed when a flood was approaching.

Assume 75 years from now we have another 1000-year flood, am I the only one that thinks the wall may not work?  Any number of things could cause it to fail.  Due to road or subway or other construction, some of the supports may have been removed and not replaced or a slight shifting of the earth due to a tremor or blasting may mean the pieces no longer slide into the upright grooves. Proper training  may not have taken place and pubic works may no longer knows how to make the pieces fit.  Or, some of the slats may have been relocated and no one knows where they are.  I don't think this is far-fetched.  Government is not even very good at maintaining things used every day.  I am just not confident that something that may never be used will be properly maintained.

In addition to thinking it is difficult to plan for such a system and doubt that it will work when needed, I would assume that protecting down town will cause worse flooding elsewhere.  If water cannot flow into downtown, will it not force more water into east Nashville?  The water has to go somewhere. This proposal needs to be defeated again.

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