Inquirer: Heavy rains put city behind on chores

mowen@ledger-enquirer.comSeptember 15, 2013 

As has been noted in these pages of late, Columbus experienced the wettest summer in recorded history.

It's been causing havoc with construction projects all over town and with other work that requires a dry outdoor space to conduct business. We're about to find another area in which it's causing problems.

Concerned Reader Betty lives on Linden Court over off Buena Vista Road near I-185. It's a working-class neighborhood with some neat and well-kept lawns and others, well, not so well tended. Betty's yard is one of the well-kept ones.

That is why a drainage ditch that runs behind her back fence creates such a contrast. It is chock full of foliage, to the point that water gets backed up sometimes and it creates a fine haven for critters.

"I've had four snakes in my yard this summer," Betty said.

The walls of the ditch are also eroding slowly over time. She said when her children were young, they could leap over it. Unless they have Olympic medals stashed away somewhere, they're not going to be doing that anymore.

Betty said the city used to come out and clean the brush from the ditch once or twice a year, but said it's been a while. She said she'd called the city and they said they'd "get around to it."

I said I'd look into it, but I had a suspicion what was the problem. I called Public Works Director Pat Biegler, whose department includes the rainwater division. After looking into the complaint, she confirmed what I'd suspected.

The huge amount of rain the city has seen has put a double whammy on chores such as clearing drainage ditches. One, when it's raining, you can't work in the ditches. And two, because of the heavy rain, the kinds of vegetation that flourish in drainage ditches has grown faster and thicker.

That means when you finally can send a crew out, jobs that could be cleared in one pass might take four or five passes, which also means there's more stuff to haul away.

So blame Bob Jeswald, not Pat Biegler. (Just kidding, Bob.)

Bottom line, Betty? The city's a couple of months behind schedule but working hard to catch up. They'll get your ditch cleared out, but not immediately.


The Good Lord willing, I hope today will be the last time we mention the Chattahoochee RiverWalk covered bridge. A while back we reported that it was perpetually wet and slick from algae and such, which grows well on damp pressure-treated pine.

It took some time to diagnose the problem, come up with a suitable (affordable) solution and then implement it. Again, this is the kind of work you can't do in the rain.

Well, the job is finished and it looks great. The formerly fading green metalwork has been sanded and repainted a glossy black and the bridge surface has been cleaned of algae and coated with an epoxy covering that's infused with grit that makes it non-skid. I believe you could strike a match on the surface. And hundreds, if not thousands, of weep holes keep water from standing.

More Ledger-Inquirer:

Stadium Drive no longer bumpy link in town

Good news and bad on Veterans Parkway

Finally, the slick surface of the covered bridge is gone

Seen something that needs attention? Contact me at 706-471-8570 or

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