With help from a contractor, the Big Creek Greenway could lose fewer days to flooding this fall.
Forsyth County commissioners approved an agreement Tuesday that will allow Jasper Pipeline and Grading and Backwoods Contracting to dredge an area of Big Creek.
“It’s a reciprocal benefit with the dredger getting utility out of the sand and the county getting utility out of clearing out some of the creek,” said County Attorney Ken Jarrard.
County Manager Doug Derrer said the project “will certainly minimize flooding,” though it won’t stop it altogether along the greenway, the county’s popular multi-use trail.
The 6.8-mile path, parts of which skirt the creek, debuted last fall. Periods of heavy rain can result in flooding along the trail.
The contract allows the company to pump sand from the creek between Hwy. 9 and Shiloh Road for six months.
Dredging will be conducted only during daylight hours and not on Sundays.
For people walking or biking the path, the process will cause little interruption, according to Lamar Suddeth, president of Jasper Grading.
“We won’t be in their way at all,” he said. “They won’t even know we’re there. All it’ll be is a barge with a hose in it.”
A small barge with a suction head will extract sand that will be piped under the greenway boardwalks to the separator, said Tim Perkins, director of water and sewer.
Jasper Grading will then use the dredged sand to make concrete.
Suddeth hopes to get started as soon as possible. It’s been about seven months since he wanted to begin the process, which would have gone through the wetter months.
He first brought the proposal to commissioners in November. According to Jarrard, however, the county needed time to get all necessary permits in order and ensure the county was appropriately insured.
The commissioners also had concerns about how the process would affect visitors to the greenway.
The signed agreement includes stipulations for feedback.
If trail users or nearby residents complain about the project, the business will work with the county to keep the operation acceptable.