Plans in works to prevent flooding in Johnston neighborhood


Federal money will purchase easements on affected properties

JOHNSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — Local, state, and federal officials announced plans Monday to fix recurring flooding problems in a Johnston neighborhood. But, some people who live there aren’t convinced it’s enough.

Mayor Joseph Polisena, flanked by members of Rhode Island’s Congressional delegation, announced the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement regarding the funding and construction plans to address flooding issues on Belfield Drive.

Back in late November and early December – after several days of rain – the road was flooded and at least two homes were damaged.

As part of the plans announced Monday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Resources Conservation Service received funding to purchase floodplain easements on properties affected by the flooding.

Only neighbors who meet certain criteria are eligible for the program.

The project will be completed in two phases according to state engineer with USDA

Neighbor Karen Casey told Eyewitness News officials met with affected homeowners last week.

She said plans include buying one of the affected properties and digging it up to give water a place to go. She said the plan also calls for some of the road to be raised.

Casey said she’s worried it’s not a permanent fix.

“I say alleviate because I personally don’t think it’s gonna solve it,” Casey said. “The problem is down in that culvert. But, we’ll take anything we can get.”

During the news conference Monday, officials said the culvert won’t be fixed as part of this project but acknowledged it does need to be addressed.

An engineer with the USDA said the plan will be conducted in two phases – with one completed by the end of fall and the other by the end of the year.

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