Murray stormwater drainage system in need of updates

 Murray Public Works is tackling aging stormwater drainage systems before they become a bigger expense. The Street Division at Murray Public Works is visiting neighborhoods to patch up or install new stormwater drainage systems.

Street Department Superintendent Ron Allbritten said many people don’t think about a city’s infrastructure because, unless there’s a problem, you don’t see it.

“I notice infrastructure when it’s in my yard, in my city street, but most people, we don’t think about the infrastructure of the city as a whole,” Allbritten said.

Allbritten said some pipes in the city are past life expectancy at more than 50-years-old. Decaying drainage systems can cause flooding and pooling that may breed mosquitoes, and  even road erosion.

Workers use a Ques Crawler Camera System to find out problems with pipes instead of making a mess.

“We are not disturbing anything in there. We are able to get in there and get our eyes right on the spot,” Allbritten said.

Instead of using an excavator and digging, which takes about three days, they can use the camera and find pipe problems within hours. Allbritten said this saves money, which can be used for other projects.

Stormwater Drainage Supervisor James Oakley said they have 52 projects on standby ready to be fixed. Oakley said they recently put a drainage system in a neighborhood that had cracks in the road from lack of drainage infrastructure.

“This roadway was paved I‘m assuming probably about 3 years ago, if we have to do that every three years. This stormwater drainage project is way outweighing the extra cost to go through having to re-pave the road,” Oakley said.

Projects are covered by a $1.50 storm water fee per household, which isn’t enough to cover every update. Oakley said it’s below the national average: $3.84.

Allbritten said Murray’s mayor is looking into ways to help fund these infrastructure changes.

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