CLINTON — For nearly 15 years, the city of Clinton has used a portable crane to insert and remove the flood gates at the Ninth Avenue North levy closure station.
As of this week, not anymore.
City crews gathered this week at the flood wall station to undergo training for the use of a 7-ton capacity crane that now sits permanently at the start of the 8.2-mile flood levy.
While the city will most likely not retain responsibility for use of the crane and will instead contract the duties out to another company, Wastewater Treatment Plant Superintendent Dan Riney wants his team to be fully educated on the $40,000 piece of equipment.
“Right now we’re just planning to ask a couple of firms, that we know, what it will cost to contract it out,” Riney said. “There really is no set date for when we’ll know who will do it so there’s a pretty good chance that we’ll probably be operating it the first time.”
That is if the flood gates are needed this year.
Because of the warming and cooling trends that have continued early this spring, projected flooding forecasts have not been near what the last two years presented and have brought a level of relief to Riney.
“As frustrated as we all are that spring isn’t here yet, it has been good for us,” Riney said. “We were all pretty nervous about how much snow was to the north and west of us but there isn’t any long term flooding predictions.”
But knowing how quickly those predictions can change was one reason the Clinton City Council decided in fall of 2013 that installing the permanent hoist would benefit the city.
Long term savings projections were another selling point for the city.
Using the portable crane to install and remove the flood gates costs anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000 for each use. Considering a year like last year where the city had to install the gates on four separate occasions, the decision seemed fiscally responsible to city leaders.