State to pay 95 percent of cost to repair drainage problem at Hawkins airport

Jeff Bobo • Jul 31, 2018 at 5:30 PM

SURGOINSVILLE — A flooding nightmare experienced by a neighbor of the Hawkins County Airport after the runway repaving was completed in 2017 is expected to come to an end later this year thanks to state-funded repairs.

Brian and Jessica Templeton have lived adjacent to the airport at 825 Main St. since 2007, but they didn’t have flooding problems until runway construction was completed last year.

Last week, the Hawkins County Commission’s Airport Committee received news that the Tennessee Aeronautics Division has agreed to pay 95 percent of the $11,200 cost to divert water away from the Templetons’ residence.

Engineer Jason Bennett from Michael Baker International, which designed the runway project, told the Airport Committee during its July 24 meeting that a berm will be constructed to push the water away from the Templetons’ backyard, as well as their neighbors’ property.

“There’s no real major grading revisions that need to occur,” Bennett said. “I believe it’s just a matter of  me spending another day up there with the contractor on a dozer and bringing in some loads of topsoil, and getting some water diverted from the top of the hill.”

Bennett added, “We can take care of the Templetons and their neighbors and prevent water from running through their yard.”

Bennett said water that had been going on the Templeton property will be collected in a swell at a location known as the old Slagle property, where it will have time to perk.

Several federally funded projects have been completed over the past two years at the Hawkins County Airport including new fencing; clearing approach and takeoff paths; a line of sight project, which involved removing a hump in the middle of the runway; and repaving.

According to Bennett, the state Aeronautics Division believes that some of the drainage problems are created by non-airport drainage upstream from the facility and that the airport is simply a conveyance for the water to flow.

That will take a more long-term solution to solve, but Bennett said it would likely involve building a retention pond on airport property with a control “gate” as well as diverting some of the airport’s water flow toward Sinking Creek.

For now, however, Brian Templeton was just glad to hear something would be done about his flooding problem. Templeton admitted that he was beginning to lose patience, and he was not far from filing a lawsuit against everyone involved — including the county.

“I’ve said from the get-go I don’t want to be a bad neighbor,” Templeton said at the July 24 meeting. “The first time (airport manager) Mark (Finley) and I met, I said I don’t want to be no ---hole, but it’s gotten to the point that’s where I’m at. I’ve talked pretty rough to some of you and would probably knocked your head off if you’d have given me half a chance, but I just don’t want no flooding back there.”

The Airport Committee voted 5-0 to recommend that the county pay the 5 percent matching funds for the project.

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