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NORWALK, CT — Norwalk and state officials broke ground on the city’s stormwater drainage improvement project at Lockwood Lane and Heather Lane during a ceremony Tuesday morning.

Speaking to a crowd gathered outside a home on Heather Lane, Mayor Harry Rilling thanked Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff and the state bond commission for their help in raising $5.1 million for the much-needed flood mitigation project on both streets.

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“In this way, we can proactively address the dangers of climate change,” said Rilling, “by ensuring that residents of the districts are provided with sustainable and resilient infrastructure.”

The project will improve the existing stormwater system and split the combined sewer and stormwater system into two systems.

The new stormwater drainage infrastructure will consist of 55 new catch basin structures, 30 new shaft structures and 1,520 meters of new stormwater pipe designed to withstand a 25-year storm event, according to additional city press materials.

Rilling noted that some Heather Lane residents are forced to stockpile sandbags to prevent water from entering their garages and basements, further underscoring the critical importance of the project.

“Due to climate change and the many storms that are much more severe than before, flooding is happening much more frequently,” said Rilling. “And we have a plan to do everything we can to mitigate the consequences wherever possible.”

According to the city, the project will not only have a positive impact on the homes on Heather and Lockwood Lane, but also on Byselle Road, Cory Lane, George Avenue, Jackson Drive and Katy Lane.

Duff said the project is a great example of city and state officials working together to solve community problems.

“This has been a huge problem for the people of Heather Lane and Lockwood Lane for years,” Duff said. “They’ve had to endure flooding from severe storms because things weren’t upgraded as much as they needed to be to meet today’s standards. And this is thanks to the efforts of really many people.”

Duff thanked state Rep. Dominique Johnson, who represents that part of Norwalk, as well as Governor Ned Lamont and other state and city officials for their support of the project.

“This is a 100 percent state-funded project, 100 percent city-initiated,” Duff said, “and it’s important because it shows that the city and the state are working together to solve the problems of the people we represent.”