A $1 million stormwater drainage project is set to get underway in the Stoneleigh neighborhood of Towson this summer, a county spokesman said.
The project is intended to update an aging system that started backing up about three years ago during heavy storms, causing flooding on Kingston Road, said resident John Gramiccioni.
“The county was slow on the uptake, but we pushed and pushed and pushed over the years,” Gramiccioni said.
Now with construction set to start this summer, the community could have an improved drainage system as soon as January 2020, weather permitting, said Baltimore County Public Works spokesman David Fidler.
“We cannot, at this point, promise an absolute solution to all the problems, but we can create a noticeable improvement,” he said.
The pipe will improve an “old, outmoded system” that was not built to handle enough water, Fidler said. A new pipe will improve the storm system’s capacity, allowing it to carry more water out of the neighborhood and into Herring Run.
“It’s been a major priority for us,” said Baltimore County Councilman David Marks, who represents the Towson area. “The flooding has been profound, particularly along Kingston Road. And I’m very happy that after two years of advocacy it’s finally coming to completion.”
During heavy rainstorms, Gramiccioni said the storm system would back up, pushing into the street and into nearby basements. He said the focal point for flooding was the intersection of Kingston and Avondale roads.
Greg Dildine, secretary of the Stoneleigh Community Association and a former president, said the problem has intensified in recent years as development has expanded the amount of impervious surface in the watershed.
Marks said the issue is one seen in older neighborhoods around the county, which were not built to today’s stormwater management standards. Many rely on deteriorating terra cotta pipes, and as summer storms become more frequent the issue is arising in other neighborhoods, like Idlewylde, he said.
“It does seem like a small piece from a countywide standpoint,” Dildine said of Stoneleigh’s project. “I’ve also come to feel that making this fix helps people, but it also is an example of how much work there is to do countywide on stormwater management.”
Stoneleigh’s construction project stems from a monthslong conversation with the community about “what Public Works can and can’t do” to stop frequent flooding in the neighborhood, Fidler said.
Gramiccioni and Dildine said the first step the county took was cleaning out the old storm drains, which had become clogged over the years with debris. That step alone solved much of the flooding problem, they said. They are hopeful construction will solidify that improvement.
According to Fidler, the new drainage system is essentially a large pipe in the shape of an L that will be between 18 and 36 inches in diameter.
The pipe will run from Kingston Road in Stoneleigh, then turn on Wardman Road to Regester Avenue, which makes up the border between Stoneleigh and Anneslie.
Construction will be coordinated with road resurfacing projects scheduled to take place in Stoneleigh, Marks said.
“It’s an older community that needs these kind of improvements,” he said.
Gramiccioni said overall he is happy with the county’s construction plans.
“It was frustrating on the front end,” he said. “But at the end of the day I think they’ve done right by the community.”