Waggoner Engineering to work with Columbus on flooding issues

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – It is no secret that in Columbus when it rains, it floods. Columbus Mayor Keith Gaskin said about 40% of the city lies in a flood zone.

“A lot of people describe Columbus like you would New Orleans,” Gaskin said. “It’s almost like we’re a bowl. There are a lot of areas within our city especially those of lower income areas where when it rains, just a small rain, can cause flooding up to the doorsteps.”

Since the 1970s, Columbus has known the infrastructure was not up to the task of handling the excess water.

It’s not just homes, businesses, yards, and city streets that deal with the damage.

“Water is the worst enemy of asphalt,” Gaskin said.

After a strained relationship with the Columbus City Council at the beginning of the year, Waggoner Engineering will once again work with the city to address flooding and other drainage issues.

“What we’re doing was that we had to put out an RFP for companies to bid to do the work that we had been approved for with our ARPA money,” Gaskin said. “We had two engineering firms who did that, one was Neil Schaffer who also works with our city engineers and the other was Waggoner who we had hired originally to help advise us with our ARPA funding. Based on the information they submitted, we chose Waggoner.

The city used its ARPA funds and Lowndes County contributed some of its ARPA money to help secure grants from the State to go toward the project.

“Work has been done to determine the areas of the city with the highest need, and so now, we’ll be moving forward with plans for how best to improve those areas,” Gaskin said.

Gaskin said they are also working on maintenance plans to keep city ditches cleared out.

“It’s not just the overgrowth in the ditches, and what you might refer to as trash that gets into the ditches, it’s also the size of the pipes and the infrastructure that is causing this,” Gaskin said. “But yes, we will be trying to address all those issues as we move forward.”

Gaskin said they will continue to try to find financial support from the state and federal level for future projects, and they are excited to start correcting the flooding issues.

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