Local News

Durham, flooded restaurant reach deal to fix culvert

Posted July 11, 2011

— City officials have reached an agreement with a Durham businessman whose restaurant has been flooded three times since May to redesign a culvert that runs under the building.

Heavy rains twice in May and again last Friday sent water rushing through the Rockwood Building on University Drive. Scott Howell, who owns the building and operates its main tenant, Nana's Restaurant, has complained that Durham should long ago have repaired and redesigned a damaged culvert behind the property.

The branch of the Third Fork Creek that runs through the culvert drains 228 acres, and channels the water from a 72-inch pipe into two 48-inch pipes. Part of the culvert has collapsed, and the design of the system hems the creek in between two buildings.

Although Howell is technically responsible for all repairs on his property, Durham officials have entered into a public-private partnership to build a new culvert that will route the creek around the Rockwood Building. Howell is responsible for $15,000 of the estimated $800,000 cost.

State Department of Transportation engineers will review the design of the new culvert in October, and Durham officials said they hope to start construction in January. Construction is expected to take six to nine months.


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  • btneast Jul 12, 2011

    There's no way that business/property is worth $800,000!!

    Too funny....you obviously have never shopped the commercial real estate market.

  • LovemyPirates Jul 12, 2011

    Howell bought an existing building; he didn't build the building over the culvert. Since that time acres of pavement has been added to the area that feeds the water way so the culvert was adequate for many years and now is no longer adequate. The City of Durham approved every inch of the pavement so they are responsible for much of the problem. This agreement is fair and makes sense.

  • Kelondris Jul 12, 2011

    Oh and don't forget when this building was built, it would have had to be approved by the city. So Durham approved this and built the culvert to begin with.

  • gnewsome1 Jul 12, 2011

    It's about time. Durham caused this problem, not shut up and fix it.

  • Milkman Jul 11, 2011

    Some facts that WRAL didn't include here. Howell contracted with the City of Durham several years ago to fix this issue, he paid the first payment, and Durham did nothing except blame the State DOT for the multi-year delay. When this all started the problem wasn't as bad as it is today. Durham's delays cost Howell and other Durham taxpayers more money.

  • technetium9 Jul 11, 2011

    who insures this clown of a business owner. if you business floods once its time to move, three times and your "nuron deficient".

  • keneds Jul 11, 2011

    Look around folks when you are surrounded by concret and asphault the water can not soak in the ground it has to go somewhere and that would be the lowest point... Cities should have thought of this many yrs ago, this problem is not going to get better only worse

  • dmccall Jul 11, 2011

    "Although Howell is technically responsible for all repairs on his property"...

    ...the citizens of Durham will have a gun held to their heads to pay for problems with a building that was built on top of a creek.

  • scarletindurham Jul 11, 2011

    I'm sure Nana's is worth more than $800,000.

  • ImpartiallyObservant Jul 11, 2011

    So taxpayers pay $785,000 while the business owner -- the guy who bought the property *knowing* that the culvert ran beneath it -- will pay just $15,000? What would it have cost the city to just buy-out the guy entirely (i.e., pay him to move)? There's no way that business/property is worth $800,000!!