Heavy rains draw attention to flood-prone areas

Heavy rains draw attention to flood-prone areas

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A motorist drives through a flooded portion of Cross Park Drive in West Knoxville. A motorist drives through a flooded portion of Cross Park Drive in West Knoxville.
"Every time we feel like we have it solved, we found another problem," City of Knoxville Engineering Director Jim Hagerman said of Cross Park Drive. "Every time we feel like we have it solved, we found another problem," City of Knoxville Engineering Director Jim Hagerman said of Cross Park Drive.
Residents and business owners say Prosser Road is an important link and shortcut in East Knoxville, so the closure causes disruptions. Residents and business owners say Prosser Road is an important link and shortcut in East Knoxville, so the closure causes disruptions.
"It's aggravating because we get a lot of traffic because people are coming in, wanting directions around it. Semis especially," said Robert Hankins, who manages the Quick-O-Muffler and Brake Center, located on the corner of Prosser Road. "It's aggravating because we get a lot of traffic because people are coming in, wanting directions around it. Semis especially," said Robert Hankins, who manages the Quick-O-Muffler and Brake Center, located on the corner of Prosser Road.

By MIKE KRAFCIK
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - With a storm system still dumping rain across East Tennessee on Monday night, flooding has been a major concern for drivers.

In Knoxville, Cross Park Drive and Prosser Road are two of the main problem areas, with Prosser Road actually remaining closed to motorists more often than not.

Many nearby were not surprised to see Prosser Road closed again with the most recent rains.

City of Knoxville engineers say it's one of the biggest trouble spots for flooding, since the water drains, but has nowhere to go. On Monday afternoon, there was even a car stuck in the waters.

Residents and business owners say Prosser Road is an important link and shortcut in East Knoxville, so the closure causes disruptions.

Another road that wasn't closed, but was still causing headaches for drivers Monday was Cross Park Drive.

Some drivers say the problems there are becoming worse and worse.

"If it keeps raining, it's going to get a lot worse," said driver Casey Krein. "It could be a really big problem for people trying to get to the doctor's office, all those places."

Monday morning, there were also issues with Cherokee Trail in South Knoxville. Crews were out fixing the hillside, because the soaking rains started to erode, causing the sediment to drain into a nearby creek.

The City of Knoxville Engineering Department has plans to fix all three of the problem spots.

Fixing Prosser Road won't be cheap; it could cost more than $2 million. But the project is one of several the city is eyeing to help end these problems, which many nearby say are always an issue.

"Every time it rains, it's going to be closed. We found cars in it as we come into work," said Robert Hankins, who manages the Quick-O-Muffler and Brake Center, located on the corner of Prosser Road.

He says the continuing closures of the road cause mass confusion and headaches for his business and motorists.

"It's aggravating because we get a lot of traffic because people are coming in, wanting directions around it. Semis especially," Hankins said.

City officials are hoping to fix the problems soon. A construction project is currently in the works, with engineers working on the design phase of the plans. 

The project calls for a widening of the road and could raise the roadway as high as five feet.
       
The city is hoping work could begin by this fall.

"Instead of making a bet, risking the city's resource in a solution that won't necessarily pan out, we're taking the cautious approach, we're working out all the details before we get started," said City of Knoxville Director of Engineering Jim Hagerman.
     
A project at Cross Park Drive, meanwhile, has been stalled for years.

"It floods down here every time. I've been here since 76, and it's been that way ever since then," said resident Wayne Frazier.

The city has had issues acquiring land to improve that road. The project also hit a snag because of underground utilities.

"Every time we feel like we have it solved, we found another problem," Hagerman said.

Engineers say those issue should be resolved and the project could be bid out by springtime.

In South Knoxville, Cherokee Trail is another trouble spot.

"As long as that's eroding, it's backing up, it's discharging sediment into the creek," said Hagerman.

The city already has secured money to improve the drainage system and stabilize the hillside. The work should be done by the fall.

Hagerman says both the Prosser Road and Cross Park Drive projects they aren't easy. In his words, they're "tough nuts to crack."

If and when construction begins on these projects, it could  take between six to 12 months for completion.

The Cross Park Drive improvements could cost $750,000, while the Prosser Road improvement project could total out to $2.2 million.

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