Johnstown officials say city aiming to replace broken 8th Ward river wall

·2 min read

Sep. 22—A failing section of 8th Ward river wall is in line to be replaced, city officials said Wednesday.

The city's EADS Group engineers are developing design plans to "quickly determine" what it will take to build a new wall along the corridor, Councilwoman Marie Mock said.

"We're treating this as an emergency situation," Mock said. "But the designs need to be completed and there are permits to acquire from the state before we can get this project (out to bid)."

She said she's hopeful that work will occur by the end of the year.

The stream flows past Bishop McCort Catholic High School and Valley Pike Manor before traveling under Edmonds Place and flowing into the Stonycreek River.

The wall has been failing for several years. In July, an approximately 40-foot section of concrete wall fell onto on the channel bed.

The city doesn't own the "Cherry Run" wall — and determining who does has been a subject of local debate that still remains unsettled.

But Mock said the risk the damaged wall poses makes ownership an issue that can be sorted out at some point.

"This has to be addressed," she said. "When it comes to potentially jeopardizing the safety of the community, it's more important to get the problem taken care of. We can deal with the rest later."

That could involve billing the party responsible for the work after the job is complete, Mock said.

Flood control projects can be expensive. But the city has more than $30 million in American Rescue Plan funds that can be used to address stormwater issues, Mock said.

Public Works Director Jared Campagna said the plan is to package the Cherry Run project with another flood channel repair project along Sam's Run in Moxham that is already in the design phase.

They would be advertised for bid as a combined project, he said.

DEP officials and the Army Corps of Engineers, which maintains the main river channels downstream, are both assisting with the effort.

"We all want to get this project done sooner than later," Campagna said. "But it's still going to take time."

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