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So. Deerfield man gets original road prints; claims curb altered

Recorder/Paul Franz
Michael Killeen of South Deerfield is frustrated with the State over storm water issues with his property on Rt 116 at Sugarloaf St. He was required to remove most  of a berm that protected his property but was locatedd on State land.

Recorder/Paul Franz Michael Killeen of South Deerfield is frustrated with the State over storm water issues with his property on Rt 116 at Sugarloaf St. He was required to remove most of a berm that protected his property but was locatedd on State land.

DEERFIELD — A South Deerfield man who claims the state Department of Transportation is flooding his property has prints showing parts of the curb along Route 116 by his home was not raised to match the original design.

For three weeks, Michael Killeen, of 112 Sunderland Road, has placed a large sign on his property off Route 116, a state highway, stating “MassDOT is flooding my property and is violating the FOIA.” FOIA stands for Freedom of Information Act.

This week, Killeen drove to MassDOT’s Boston office to get the original plans for the roadway after months of requesting the same documents from the Northampton office. He said he is now trying to talk to drainage engineers.

Killeen observed a difference between the original plans for the road and the actual curbing. He said the curb is 5.5 inches shorter than the original curb design. The curb right now is 1.38 inches in some spots.

“There may have been changes to the height of the curb, but it is still not enough of a height difference to channel water from Sunderland Road onto the property,” said Michael Versekes, MassDOT spokesman. “We’ve had engineers visit the site on multiple occasions especially during periods of heavy precipitation. There are no signs that the height of the curb is causing flooding.”

Killeen argues that a 2008 resurfacing of the roadway on Route 116 in South Deerfield and Whately from River Road to the intersection of Routes 5 and 10 has caused rainwater runoff to flood his basement and his neighbor’s home.

Killeen butted heads with the state this year over a berm he created in his front yard by Route 116.

While building a garage foundation, he placed the backfill in his front yard and noticed the flooding stopped, which lead him to conclude state roadwork was to blame.

While he wanted to leave the berm in its place to prevent flooding, the state ordered him to remove it this month, arguing it was on a state highway right of way and obstructing sight lines on the busy highway intersection.

A spokesman for MassDOT said his office received a copy of the prints from the news media, but the state couldn’t make out how old the design was.

Versekes said the state has no idea what is causing the flooding, but they have not received any complaints from anyone else along Sunderland Road. He said there have been no issues during the wintertime, the season when most water problems occur with snow melting and flooding streets or ice covering roads.

“We have no issues with the drainage system in this location and no issue during the winter time,” Versekes said. “During the winter, drainage problems can be especially dangerous. And there have been no issues with chronic standing water or icing during the winter.”

You can reach Kathleen McKiernan at:
kmckiernan@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261 ext. 268.

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