Development of the Final Design is Underway 


The final design for Bloomsburg's flood protection system is expected one year from now. The Columbia County Commissioners recently signed an agreement with Borton-Lawson, a Pennsylvania-based engineering and architectural firm. Based on winter-related weather concerns, the company was anxious to begin work as soon as possible.


Preliminary flood protection plans call for a U-shaped structure directly

protecting Autoneum North America and the Windsor Foods site. The federal Economic Development Administration and the Commonwealth's H2O PA program are the primary funding sources for the approximately $30 million project. Autoneum is also contributing.


As it prepares the final design, Borton-Lawson's initial activities

This drilling rig will be used to test the soil prior to designing the flood protection system.

include mapping, land surveys, and test borings to determine subsurface stability. One of the key questions that must be answered is exactly what type of structure can be constructed.


Originally the project was to consist of two separate systems, basically floodwalls. The revised plan ─ one continuous U-shaped structure ─ offers several advantages, according to
SEDA-COG's Glenda Ruch, project coordinator. SEDA-COG is administering the project on behalf of the County Commissioners.


Ms. Ruch said, "Under the revised plan, access to buildings behind the flood protection system will be more readily available and it will be easier to expand the system if, at some point in the future, that becomes a feasible option." The new design is also expected to cost less than the original proposal.


The project was first announced in March, and Windsor Foods has since made plans to close its Bloomsburg facility. "In spite of their unfortunate decision," said Ms. Ruch, "the building should be protected if it is going to be a viable location for future business investment." Commissioner Chris Young said Windsor's decision "...was a hurdle, but we're working through it. At this point the project is moving along as we anticipated."


A public meeting about the project will be held January 28, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. in the cafeteria of the Bloomsburg Area High School. Commissioner Rich Ridgway says it will be a great opportunity for residents of the community to learn about the project. "The engineers will give us a progress report," he said, "so people will get first-hand information on the project and be brought up to speed on the plans that are being developed."


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Columbia County Commissioners / SEDA-Council of Governments

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