Local News

Surveyors Hope To Prevent Future Flooding At Eastgate

Posted Updated

CHAPEL HILL — Merchants at Chapel Hill's Eastgate shopping center may find out soon why their stores keep flooding. Stormwater management experts are studying the property.

Booker Creek has caused major problems at the Eastgate shopping center. The creek feeds into a culvert that runs underneath Eastgate's parking lot. Surveyors say the culvert is clogged with four feet of silt.

"It's taking away a lot of flow," says surveyor Paul Williard. "Water is going underneath, and it will build up quicker. If you take that there out, it will flow."

Adrian Brown's home furnishing store is one of two dozen businesses that flooded in July. Standing water caused $500,000 worth of damage and shut him down for weeks. It was the second major flood at Eastgate in five years.

"It certainly makes us a little angry," Brown says. "A lot of anger, frustration, and then what's going to be done about it is the next question."

Merchants suspect a new shopping center might be contributing to the problem. Its storm drains sit above and next door to Eastgate. The water feeds into Booker Creek -- the same creek that runs underneath Eastgate's parking lot.

Cynthia Fox, a business owner at Eastgate, says she could not survive another flood.

"I want it fixed. I don't want to go through this again," she says. "It's emotionally draining. It's physically draining."

The property owner delivered sandbags before last weekend's storm. Fox plans to put them out Monday, but she also wants a permanent fix that protects tenants from the next storm.

The local engineering firm that is studying Eastgate will wrap up its work in about three weeks. They should then be able to offer some permanent solutions.