Project Highlight: Borough of Chambersburg’s Rhodes Drive Reconstruction and Bioretention Basin

By September 13, 2018 Blog

These little projects matter.

Richard L. Alloway IIPennsylvania State Senator

“Green Streets” grant helps Borough upgrade central emergency route while improving water quality

This week the Trust joined the Borough of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, in celebrating the dedication of their Rhodes Drive Reconstruction and Bioretention Basin project, which was funded in part through a Green Streets, Green Jobs, Green Towns grant.

Rhodes Drive is centrally located within the Borough, adjacent to the local library, a senior living facility, and a municipal parking lot. Although it is a one-way street, the Chambersburg Emergency Services Department uses the road to respond to calls on the south side of the Borough, with emergency vehicles traveling the street 15-20 times a day. Therefore, it is crucial that Rhodes Drive remains safe and accessible. It is also an important community asset; when it is not being used as an emergency route, it serves as a staging area for several charity run/walk events, Borough parades, and other events.

Prior to initiating this project, Rhodes Drive was in extremely poor condition—inspections revealed significant heaving (a serious issue for an emergency route) and multiple stormwater inlets that discharged directly into Falling Spring Creek (a noted trout stream), which flows into Conococheague Creek, then on to the Potomac River, and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay.

Under the direction of the Borough’s Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System Department, the Borough undertook a comprehensive green and gray infrastructure project to address both the structural and environmental issues associated with Rhodes Drive’s poor condition. The reconstructed roadway was funded with grants through the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Franklin County Conservation District.

Funding from the Green Streets, Green Jobs, Green Towns grant program, a partnership between the Trust, U.S. EPA Mid-Atlantic Region, City of Baltimore Office of Sustainability, with support from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, enabled the Borough to enhance the project with a bioretention basin, a stormwater best management practice (BMP) designed to catch and treat the first flush of polluted stormwater, running the full length of the street. The basin is planted with native, pollinator-friendly plants that will help to absorb nutrients before the water runs into the adjacent stream. The Green Streets funding also enabled the Borough to replace the sidewalk with a winding park path of permeable pavers, which removes impervious surface, enhances the adjacent park, and improves access to the green space for the residents of the nearby senior living facility.

Rhodes Drive is now the first official “Green Street” in the Borough, which has plans to continue incorporating green infrastructure into future projects.

According to Borough Manager Jeffrey Stonehill, “the Borough is hoping to set a positive trend and important precedent with the Rhodes Drive infrastructure improvements, as the project was the first MS4 Department storm sewer project to incorporate “green” BMPs. We want to demonstrate how public works projects can be effective and good for the environment.”

Learn more about the Borough of Chambersburg and the Rhodes Drive project here and here.

Learn about the Green Streets, Green Jobs, Green Towns grant program here.

Leave a Reply