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Groundbreaking Scheduled for $30M Flood Protection Project

Apr 07, 2015 10:24AM ● Published by Erica Shames

Officials from Columbia County and the Town of Bloomsburg, as well as the state and federal government, will be on hand Wednesday, April 8 as ground is broken for the $30 million flood protection project in Bloomsburg.  The event marks the culmination of a two-year planning effort that began with Congressman Lou Barletta's announcement at Autoneum North America's plant in Bloomsburg.

SEDA-COG's Glenda Ruch, the project coordinator, said, "The planning phase was not without its challenges, but it was also marked by a great degree of cooperation among the many parties involved ─ funding agencies, county and local authorities and planning organizations, utility companies, the school district, and the general public."

On behalf of the Columbia County Commissioners, SEDA-COG prepared the grant application for funds from the federal Economic Development Administration (EDA), and will oversee construction of the project.  EDA provided $15 million, a grant supported by Congressman Barletta and US Senators Robert Casey and Pat Toomey.  A grant of approximately $11.8 million was secured through Pennsylvania's H2O PA program, with the assistance of State Senator John Gordner and State Representative David Millard.  Additional funds have been provided through Autoneum.

The flood protection system will primarily protect Autoneum which, with 690 employees, is one of the largest employers in and around Columbia County.  It will also protect the former site of Windsor Foods, which closed its local facility shortly after plans for the project were announced.  The system will essentially consist of a U-shaped flood wall, over a mile in length.

In late February the Columbia County Commissioners awarded a general construction contract to Allan A. Myers LP, based in Worcester, PA, outside Philadelphia.  A $418,950 contract for electrical work associated with the project was awarded to Howard Organization of Bloomsburg.    The Myers firm has been on the site for the last few weeks, establishing offices, bringing in equipment, surveying, excavating trenches, and working out safety procedures.

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