Local News

Durham, flooded restaurant reach deal to fix culvert

Posted July 11, 2011 4:00 p.m. EDT

— 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.