DANVILLE — John Hack, Danville’s public works director, was pleased with the test of the new floodgate at Mahoning Creek.
“Excellent,” he said of crews installing vertical beams and horizontal stop logs on the west side of the creek Monday night. “It’s been pretty quick and we’re only one hour into it.”
The workers still had to install posts to brace the structure further.
“Everyone’s doing a great job,” said Hack.
His employees, along with other borough employees, were part of the group installing the floodgate to make sure it works.
Mike Plant, job foreman of contractor Susquehanna Supply Co. of Williamsport, said they didn’t plan to time the exercise.
“This is more to learn the procedure,” he said of the test that began by closing Route 11 at the intersection with Route 54 at 7 p.m.
The stop logs and vertical beams are stored in two trailers on wheels in Danville’s street barn.
Plant said if they found a problem during installation, they would make modifications to the $1.48 million project which was funded by state grants.
The floodgate, to be erected on the bridge at Mahoning Creek during high water, was the missing piece of Danville’s dike system.
If the system had been in place during the September 2011 flood, millions of dollars in damage to the nearby Danville Middle School, businesses and Danville sewage treatment plant could have been avoided, according to borough officials.
Susquehanna Supply and Danville fire companies provided lighting for the floodgate installation.
The structure on the west side of the creek is 60 feet long with six vertical steel sections. The structure on the east side is 70 feet long with seven vertical sections. Eleven aluminum stop logs are stacked in each section. The vertical sections are 8-and-a-half feet high, according to Plant.
Plant was optimistic the test might be over by midnight. Route 11 at the intersection could be closed up until 4 this morning.
Among those observing was Jeff Lewis, of Sunbury’s flood control system. He said Sunbury has a similar flood control system which uses stop logs. “We do the exercise every year to make sure it is working and everybody is properly trained,” he said of testing of their system. Sunbury closes Route 61 for its stop log structure test. “We don’t have to close a major highway,” he said.
A spokesman for Larson Design, which did the engineering for the Danville project, said the floodgate on either side of the creek is the same height as the concrete dike wall. The floodgate is designed to hold back water three feet above a 100-year storm, he said.
About 20 Danville firefighters, Danville fire police and the Danville Ambulance Service participated.
Danville Assistant Fire Chief Ken Strausser said the middle school was open for people to go in and get warm.
Others on hand included Danville Police Chief Eric Gill and Dick Blosky, newly appointed Danville emergency management agency director.
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