Johnson County gets stamp of approval for flood mitigation project

A map of where the flood mitigation project infrastructure will be built in Johnson County,...
A map of where the flood mitigation project infrastructure will be built in Johnson County, Kentucky.(US Army Corp of Engineers)
Updated: May. 14, 2021 at 7:35 PM EDT
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PAINTSVILLE, Ky. (WSAZ) - Johnson County has been no stranger to seeing high waters in the past, causing major flooding issues.

For Hazel Colvin, who lives within the floodplain, it’s almost become second nature to dealing with the high waters.

Every time before it rains, Colvin walks to the creek in her backyard and cleans the culvert out, hoping to prevent high waters and her backyard from becoming submerged underwater.

“If we don’t pull stuff out of there, then it gets stocked up, and when that flood comes the garbage comes into our yard,” said Colvin.

After years of dealing with the problem, there’s now a solution, a flood mitigation project that will cost $118 million.

The project footprint includes a combination of levees/floodwalls which will be constructed in the city of Paintsville, some non-structural measures within city limits, as well as a countywide Flood Warning Emergency Evacuation Plan.

A main flood wall is expected to be located across property currently occupied by a commercial self-storage facility. The main floodwall south of Paint Creek is to be located between the CSX railyard and the left descending bank of the Levisa Fork.

The Euclid Avenue floodwall will range in height from a few feet to nearly 10 feet above existing infrastructure. East of Depot Road, the floodwall will be located along the rear portion of several commercial properties and an existing apartment complex.

“We believe it’s going to be such a large impact on the community in so many ways. You go back to public safety, we want to keep people as safe as possible and this project can help do that,” said Mark McKenzie, Johnson County Judge-Executive. “We get backwater within the city of Paintsville. This will hopefully not only address that issue but also help warn people about flash flooding.”

The project received supplemental funding made available through the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018.

Construction of the floodwall is expected to begin in 2023.

To view a copy of the full project, click here.

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