LEWISBORO, N.Y. – After years of using Band-Aid remedies to repair drainage and runoff issues on Schoolhouse Road, Lewisboro Highway Superintendent Peter Ripperger says it’s time to fix the problem permanently, once and for all.
The problem concerns an approximately 1,500-foot length of Schoolhouse Road, an all-dirt thoroughfare, near Route 121. The steep topography, combined with a deteriorating drainage system, causes water to rush down the slope, dragging along stones and silt, which are deposited in homeowners’ ponds. It also creates piles of debris that block area driveways and wreaks havoc on the road itself, causing the shoulders to drop, and ruts and crevices to develop.
“The drainage there is just shot,” Ripperger said. “The ponds get filled in, and that causes flooding on the homeowners’ property.”
Ripperger said the town has regraded the road time and again and attempted to repair the antiquated pipes, but the problems just keep reoccurring. He has presented the Town Board with several options to fix the problems on a more permanent basis, and all of them call for blacktopping and installing new drainpipes.
Ripperger said that ideally the town should blacktop the entire 1,500-foot stretch of road, from the top of the hill out to Route 121, but he realizes that might not be economically feasible. Another drawback to that plan is that the flat portion of the road at the bottom of the hill lies in a protected wetlands, and the town would need to acquire permits from New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection.
The other option would be to blacktop just the sloped portion of the road, which is about 800 to 1,000 feet long. That portion is out of the wetlands, and no permits would be necessary.
Finally, the town will have to dredge the pond on a private homeowner’s property to remedy the chronic flooding.
“The homeowner has been very cooperative and understanding, but she wants to get it done, because she wants to sell the house,” Ripperger said.
Unfortunately, the dredging project has to be overseen by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, which Ripperger said could cost “big money.”
Nonetheless, Ripperger said the Schoolhouse Road issue is something the town can no longer ignore.
“It dates back to 1960,” he said. “We constantly have to repair it. A study we did shows that during the school year we have 600 cars passing through there on a daily basis. It’s become a safety issue.”
Ripperger said he and the town engineers are still working on how much the project will cost and will present the numbers to the Town Board as soon as they’re ready.