Beaver dam contributes to Kannapolis Road closure
By Hugh Fisher
KANNAPOLIS ń Score one for Mother Nature.
Flooding caused in part by a beaver dam has led to a decision to close a Kannapolis neighborhood street, after city officials determined that making the road flood-proof would cost too much.
The east side of McLain Road, which runs from South Cannon Boulevard to dead-end at Fairview Street, has always run through a 100-year flood plain for a nearby stream, Assistant Public Works Director Ed Dehlin said.
The branch runs to nearby Concord Lake and had, in previous years, been dredged to prevent flooding. Federal regulations no longer permit this.
Meanwhile, beavers living in nearby woods have built a dam that has increased the water volume. Rotting trees and debris have clogged the stream. The result: McLain Road floods every time a storm occurs.
“We have found out that it doesn’t take a hundred-year flood to flood this road,” Dehlin said. “Since June 6, we’ve had three-quarters of an inch of rainfall. Water … is still running down that road.”
At the completion of recent work to replace the Fairview Street bridge over the branch, within a block of the flooded section,standing water ń both water from the creek as well as rising water table ń has caused difficulties with bridge construction.
Several options were considered following a presentation on the issue at the last Kannapolis City Council meeting.
They included raising the road above flood level at an estimated cost of $600,000 or simply paving the road at an estimated cost of $200,000.
But the city decided to close the flooded section, adding a cul-de-sac at the point of closure near Verona Street so that traffic could turn around and connecting the northern terminus to Genoa Street, which runs through the neighborhood.
Council members voted 6-to-1 to endorse that third option, which still allows residents access but does not encourage traffic to cut through the mobile home park.
Councilman Darrell Hinnant voted against the measure because he did not want to see money spent on the road, which is already blocked due to flooding.
“What if we don’t do anything? What if we just close McLain where it comes off Fairview to where the floodplain stops?” Hinnant asked.
The bridge replacement contract with the N.C. Department of Transportation includes remaining funds that can be applied to closing the road and rerouting local traffic onto Genoa Street.
“We will have very little maintenance in that area,” Dehlin said.
Kannapolis Fire Chief Eddie Hiers said that closing the road might increase response times into the area slightly, but the nearby mobile home park remains connected to Cannon Boulevard via other routes.
“We’d have to go on down Cannon (Boulevard) and have to come back to get in,” Hiers said.
One other obvious option, suggested by Mayor Pro Tem Randy Cauthen, was relocating the beavers in order to reopen the stream.
But Dehlin said that’s been tried before. The dam and most of the stream are on private property with no easy access.
And, Dehlin said, “The beavers always come back.”