The Corps of Engineers will continue to work closely with property owners in the downtown area to acquire properties needed for construction of Phases II and III of the project as project funds are made available. Most of these property acquisitions are of commercial properties bordering Main Street through the downtown. Acquisition of most downtown residential property will be delayed until work on the Phase II area in Downtown Martin is completed. The Phase II area will be the location of most new residential relocation homes. Some advanced acquisitions are ongoing for those landowners whose structures were damaged by the May 2009 flooding event (see below).
As a result of damaging flash floods in May 2009, a decision was made jointly between the Corps of Engineers, the project sponsor (Floyd County) and the City of Martin to advance acquisitions originally scheduled for Phase 3 and 4 for those landowners whose homes were damaged in the May flooding. The advanced program is voluntary and will include application of the procedures and benefits available through the Uniform Relocations Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970 (Public Law 91-646), the same regulations being applied to all acquisitions in the project. Only those structures in the designated project floodplain that received documented damages in the May 2009 flood event would be eligible for this advanced program. A landowners meeting was held in Martin on June 24, 2010 to explain the voluntary program and applications are being taken from eligible landowners. The Corps is conducting property survey work and HTRW investigations of those eligible properties for which applications were received and additional property descriptions and title work will be forthcoming for properties cleared of any HTRW issues. Other properties are being acquired in the Phase 3 mandatory acquisition area as well.
Construction on the Phase II Downtown Redevelopment Site will first require demolition of the existing Martin Alternative Learning School building and other acquired commercial structures bordering Route 1428 in the downtown. Once those buildings have been removed, existing utilities and streets will be relocated or abandoned as needed and a Corps' contractor will begin hauling fill material back from the Mayo Hollow Spoil site to elevate portions of the vacated downtown. The fill material will raise the downtown to an elevation greater than the flood of April 1977. During this filling process, Route 1428 will be maintained for through traffic in the downtown area.
As occurred during the Phase I construction process, dump trucks will have restricted speeds and hauling hours in accordance with construction specifications. Appropriate safety precautions will be taken including placement of flagmen and signs at intersections and critical facilities (hospital) to warn motorists of the construction traffic. Special noise-abatement fencing will separate the residential areas of downtown from the construction and traffic noises. Portions of Route 1428 will be rerouted through the construction zones onto all-weather detour routes constructed to KYTC specifications. Generally, traffic delays through the downtown will be minimal during construction of the Phase II site.
Most of the Phase II fill area will be used for residential relocations from the Phase III construction area in the downtown. Residences located along Jenny's Street, Short Street and Ice Plant Hollow Road will be eligible for relocation into the Phase II residential area.
Phase III is the final phase of construction in the downtown area. All of the residences will have been relocated from the Jenny's Street, Short Street and Ice Plant Hollow Road areas to the Phase II area and the City Hall and Police Station will have been relocated to the Phase I site. The utilities and streets in the Phase III area will either have been relocated or abandoned and the area will be filled to an elevation greater than the April 1977 flood level. Following the filling operation and relocation of Route 1428, redevelopment of commercial and residential uses facilitated through the Big Sandy Area Development District can begin. As in the case of the Phase II development area, traffic on Route 1428 will be rerouted around the construction zone to avoid any delays. Safety procedures to control traffic and reduce noise in the downtown during construction will be part of the contractor's work specifications.
Preliminary design work for the Phase II and III areas of downtown (see Project Phases II and III Engineering and Design in Where are We Now) indicated the need for two project changes from the original Redevelopment Master Plan layout previously approved by the Martin City Council. Both of the changes would affect the Phase III construction area. The first change is the abandonment of Water Street and the demolition of the Water Street Bridge. This change would eliminate the need for two very large and expensive retaining walls in the downtown that would be necessary to accommodate the 16 feet of grade change (after the downtown fill is placed) between relocated Route 1428 and the existing deck of the Water Street Bridge. This change would allow maximum use of the Phase III redevelopment site to accommodate residences and commercial businesses being relocated through the project. Potential abandonment of Water Street and removal of the Water Street Bridge were coordinated with the Kentucky Highways district office in Pikeville, KY.
Since the Water Street Bridge provides one of only two possible access routes for the Old Post Office Street neighborhood during emergencies and the only alternate access route crosses the frequently blocked CSX railroad tracks, it was determined by the Corps that the landowners in Old Post Office Street and those whose only means of reliable access would be severed by removing the bridge should be converted from voluntary to mandatory acquisition. The residential relocation benefits offered to landowners in the Old Post Office Street neighborhood under either the mandatory or voluntary acquisition program through the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970 are identical. Safe access to downtown Martin could still be provided by Route 80 for residents in Cracker Bottom when the Water Street Bridge is removed. The potential impacts of this proposed action were addressed in an Environmental Assessment (see below) prepared and circulated by the Corps.
The second project change was the relocation of a short reach of Beaver Creek between the Route 80 connector bridge and the Water Street Bridge. This reach of the stream is being relocated to avoid costly retaining walls along relocated Route 1428 when that section of highway is elevated to meet the grade of the new downtown fill. Preliminary design work indicated that either a very large and expensive retaining wall would be needed to contain the new fill supporting the elevated highway or the toe of the resulting fill slope would terminate in the middle of Beaver Creek. The Corps wanted to avoid the high cost of the retaining wall and the Kentucky Highway staff wanted to avoid maintaining such a large retaining wall in the future. Allowing the fill to terminate in the Beaver Creek channel posed many environmental and flood flow problems that needed to be addressed. Of the many other options considered, moving Beaver Creek about 100 feet west of its present location was one solution that had the most merit. After coordinating these options with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the channel relocation option was deemed the most acceptable solution.
The Corps prepared and circulated for public review an Environmental Assessment that addressed the relocation of Beaver Creek and the demolition of the Water Street Bridge with associated mandatory acquisition and relocation of the residents of Old Post Office street. A public workshop held on May 18, 2006 in Martin for local residents was a direct result of the Environmental Assessment process and was requested by the Mayor of Martin to assure that affected residents of the Old Post Office Street neighborhood would be informed of their future program options.