Members of the Mount Vernon Council of Citizens Associations will meet Saturday with Supervisor Gerald Hyland (D-Mount Vernon) to discuss a low-lying portion of Collingwood Road that floods during heavy rains.

"We plan to do what we can to ensure that fire, police and other safety service vehicles get to the residents who live on Collingwood Road," said Earl Flanagan, cochairman of the council, an organization of approximately 50 neighborhood groups.

Collingwood Road intersects the George Washington Memorial Parkway about four miles south of Alexandria and becomes Parkers Lane, eventually ending at Sherwood Hall Lane. A fire station, a police substation, and the Mount Vernon Hospital are at the corner of Parkers and Sherwood Hall lanes.

The low-lying portion of the road crosses over a tributary to Little Hunting Creek. The water normally runs from one to three feet below the road, but during heavy rains the stream rises from six to 12 inches above the road.

"The police have had a problem with that road flooding," said Officer Judy Dailey, a spokeswoman for the Fairfax County Police. "When it's flooded they {police} just won't go through it and they take another route."

"We have never had a problem getting a fire truck or an ambulance down Collingwood Road when it's flooded," said Sgt. Tom Wolfe, a spokesman for the Fairfax County Fire Department.

"If the conditions were so bad that {fire trucks or ambulances} couldn't get through we do have alternate routes to that area {near the stream} that would only add one minute to our response time," Wolfe said.

Shiva Pant, director of the county's office of transportation, said that in the late 1970s the county received state funds to widen all of Collingwood Road to 44 feet for two lanes and two parking lanes, and to raise the roadbed at the creek.

"The project was dropped in 1980 because the state funding was declining and the citizens said they preferred that Huntington Avenue be extended to Fort Hunt Road, rather than the improvements on Collingwood Road," Shiva said. "They basically had to choose between the two projects."

"Once the {road improvement} project got dropped, then we did not hear any more about it from either the community or the supervisor who represents that area," Pant said. "If the Mount Vernon residents want that road improved then . . . we will of course look into it."

Some residents think dams built by beavers have caused the stream level to rise and flood the road.

Kenneth Hood, who lives on William and Mary Drive, which backs up to the stream, said he's asked county officials to trap the beavers and move them to a more rural part of the county.

"The beaver dam is not the reason why the road floods," said Olin Allen, manager of the Environmental Services Section of the Fairfax County Park Authority. "The road is low and there are problems with trash clogging up the stream. There are no live traps for beavers that I know of. When beavers are trapped, they are drowned."

The council will meet with Hyland at a public meeting 8 a.m. Saturday at Mount Vernon High School, 8515 Old Mount Vernon Rd.