PRINCETON — After heavy rainfall, areas of Princeton notorious for flooding have avoided the expected onslaught of water after drainage system updates.

For years the area of Stafford Drive has been known as a flood zone when the city would receive heavy rainfall. High water signs were frequently set up near the downtown location as water would collect up and over the roadway near the busy intersections.

To combat this, city officials observed the issues with the previous drainage systems and began work on a more appropriate system.

“The work that was done on Bee Street and Stafford Drive, as well as along Stafford down to Trent Street, with drop outlets and inlets help hold up to the rain,” Princeton City Manager Mike Webb said.

In the last two weeks, Princeton has seen up to five inches of rain, according to data from the National Weather Service. Whereas this precipitation would’ve left Stafford Drive and the surrounding roadways reminiscent of a swamp, the results were surprising as roadways remained clear.

“We managed to go without flooding on Stafford Drive where it has so many times before flooded. It did not flood into the street,” Webb said.

To prevent these flooding issues the new system installed was upped in size to accommodate heavy rainfall. The new drainage pipes range from 18 inches to five feet in diameter, according to Webb.

With the bigger pipes having handled the rainfall seemingly well Webb is hopeful that this trend will continue.

Rather than running alongside the roadway, or collecting in the roadway obstructing traffic, the new system reroutes water to Brush Creek, Webb said. Water drained into Brush Creek then flows into the Bluestone River which is a tributary of the New River.

According to Webb, a backflow valve has been put in place to ensure that Brush Creek won’t rise too high and crest, causing flooding. A backflow valve acts as a prevention valve to catch reverse flowing water in drainage systems in cases of flooding.

Prior to the creation of shopping centers and retail stores Princeton consisted of swampland. According to Webb, prior to the 1980s, the area of Stafford Drive was a wetland.

Contact Emily D. Coppola at ecoppola@bdtonline.com

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