TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – Drivers, city leadership, and school administrators in Tuscumbia are celebrating after Wednesday morning's heavy rain. For decades, all three have dealt with flooding along a major roadway.
Six weeks ago, excavators began digging behind Howard Chappell Stadium’s visitor section. To date, they have dug out a 10-foot deep area which can hold 1.5-million gallons of water. Workers recently connected Cave Street drainage pipes to the new Tuscumbia retention pond.
“Normally here in Tuscumbia, we get a rain like that, you are guaranteed Cave Street will be shut down. I got up here (today) and I looked, and I was like, 'there are no barriers,'” explained Deshler High School Athletic Director Jason Fuller.
For the first time in nearly 70-years, Cave Street did not flood after major rains.
Flash flooding on the roadway normally spilled over onto the football field. In last fall’s semi-final playoff game, the playing surface was a mess after extended rainfall, and almost keeping the game from being played.
“I think that sort of tipped it over the edge for us,” stated Fuller. “I know Mayor Underwood was very adamant about getting this done and Mr. Aikerson, and it all just came together as a partnership.”
Eight months later, crews are finishing the retention pond. They are also turning their attention to the Deshler football field where drainage will be installed along with new astroturf, a $1.7-million investment.
Right now the entire project is slated to be completed by late August. But right now, school leaders and residents are declaring victory on the drainage issue.
The Tuscumbia City Council and mayor contributed $200,000 towards the overall project to be completed. Pumps in the retention pond will move collected floodwater to nearby Spring Creek.