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Resident blames state of county bridge for flooding in Durham


The Durham Township Board of Supervisors is vowing to act on a resident’s plea for a new design for a Bucks County-owned bridge blamed for flooding homes and businesses in the township.

With the design for Bridge 226 across Cooks Creek approved and construction work well underway, resident Mark Royack, frustrated in his individual efforts to affect change, turned to the supervisors for help.

The bridge, built in 1933 at the intersection of Stouts Valley and Red Bridge roads, was repaired in 1981, Royack said, but noted “There have been four significant floods in 22 years.”

Floods, he said, have left his home and others on Red Bridge Road “islands in a raging river,” and recounted a time when his wife, home alone, could not escape the house, and he could not get home due to the flooding.

The supervisors and Royack agreed the floods had been caused both by upstream development and the number of downed trees due to the ravages of the emerald ash borer and storms.

During the last flood caused by Hurricane Ida in 2021, the central pier supporting the bridge had caught the trees and other debris and formed a dam that then spread the creek’s water across the road and onto private properties.

Royack said he’d like to see the bridge “gone.”

Supervisor Chairman Bartley E. Millett told him, “That’s not feasible, but we’ll see what we can do,” noting that a municipality’s quest might have a bit more clout than an individual’s.

He said the township would contact county officials as well as state legislators representing Durham to see if they could offer assistance.

Supervisor Kathleen Gentner also suggested the township and the officials “get our heads together” to try to correct the problem. Millett said, “The immediate response should be to get rid of the trees” that have fallen into the stream.

He said, “We are not unsympathetic. We have a supervisor who lives there,” referring to Richard Johnson, whose business sustained hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage when the creek overran its banks during Hurricane Ida.

In other business, the supervisors announced they will conduct a meeting to begin work on a 2024 budget on Oct. 30 at 10 a.m. at the township building. The meeting is open to the public.

The supervisors also established 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 31 as an official time for Halloween trick-or-treating in the township.

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