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Drainage ditch in St. Pete’s low-lying Shore Acres gets pedestrian bridges, finishing touches

Times Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG — Work has been completed on a drainage ditch designed to alleviate flooding in the back yards of residents whose homes lie on the northeast edge of Shore Acres’ Denver Park.

The work in February was a follow up to a project begun last year, when the decades-old ditch that had filled in over time was deepened, prompting complaints from many neighbors. The L-shaped ditch, which runs south and then makes a westerly turn, overflowed during heavy rains.

John Norris, director of stormwater, pavement and traffic operations, said recent work at the park, off Denver Street NE and Ohio Avenue NE, included the addition of grass and two pedestrian bridges. Norris described it as a finishing touch to last year’s work that was done in mid-June and early July.

"When we were out there, it was during the wet season and it was very limited as to what equipment we could get out there. We dug this emergency ditch just to get the water flowing," he said of the trench that enables water to run downstream and into Placido Bayou.

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This year, when workers returned during the dry season, they worked with a spider excavator, an amphibious excavator and dump trucks and gave the previously vertical ditch walls more slope. Work also included hydro seeding, which involved spraying a combination of seed, other products and water on the sides of the ditch to plant grass and help control erosion.

After the first phase of the project last summer, some residents complained that the ditch created standing water and a possible hazard for young children. They also said the city dug it without consulting neighbors.

The two phases of the project cost about $9,500, Norris said.

He said residents can expect ongoing work throughout low-lying Shore Acres, which is prone to flooding at high tide. Backflow preventers, check valves that allow water to flow out from the street but don’t allow tidal water in, are being replaced, he said.

"There’s a newer design out that we are putting in as a sort of pilot project to see how well they work. We are looking at those that are leaking and replacing them," Norris said.

"There are 80 in the city, most of them are in Shore Acres. Some are in Snell Isle. It’s a pretty daunting task."

The master plan being developed to fix the city’s sewer and stormwater systems will help to identify further priorities for Shore Acres, he said.

Contact Waveney Ann Moore at [email protected] or (727) 892-2283. Follow @wmooretimes.

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