Crews work 16-hour days to finish installing Maitland drainage system

Parts of US 17-92 flooded 3 times over the past month

MAITLAND, Fla. – Maitland city leaders said crews are working long shifts as they install large permanent pipes to help prevent any future flooding along parts of US 17-92 in Maitland after the roadway flooded several times over the past month.

Mark Reggentin, the assistant city manager of Maitland said contractors are now working 16-hour days to lay the pipe along Monroe Avenue from 17-92 to Lake Gem.

"We have the 5, and 6-foot pipes that are going in right now. As long as we have nice weather, we're going to keep laying pipe. The closer we get to the lake, the better it is going to be for the flood control," Reggentin said.

Reggentin said the goal is to get all the pipe installed by the end of the weekend before the next round of rainfall.

"They've doubled the time on the job; so as long as the weather holds, we are reasonably confident we're going to make it," he said. 

The stretch of US 17-92 under the train trestle has flooded at lest three times over the last month. Three cars were stuck during the floods.

Reggentin said the problems started after the city began installing the new drainage system to help clean up Lake Gem.

Contractors blocked a drainage line that normally keeps the roadway from flooding. They initially only installed one pump to move the water, but that didn't work. Crews later added three more pumps and installed a 36-inch pipe to help stop the flooding.

During Sunday's rain, only one lane of the road was shut down temporarily.

Reggentin said the additional pumps and bypass pipe are working while crews install the permanent larger pipes.

"Just to give a comparison, the amount of rain that fell that third time (April 23) when it flooded was the same amount that happened on Sunday and our bypass carried the water away," Reggentin said.

City leaders add that the flooding exposed a bigger problem within the drainage system.

"I hate to say it's a blessing in disguise, but the fact that we had the first flooding happen made us go back and take a good hard look at the plans," Reggentin said.

City officials learned a filter system, called a baffle box, they planned to install would not have stopped any debris from getting in Lake Gem.

Developers are now working to come up with a different solution to keep Lake Gem clean. Reggentin said they're thankful they caught this problem in time.

"It would have made it a worse situation, absolutely. We're all very fortunate that we're able to re-evaluate the system," he said.

News 6 learned the city will have to pay a cancellation fee for the baffle box, but right now it's unclear how much that will cost.

[RELATED: Emails show issues behind Maitland flooding]

City leaders said they are still finalizing the whole project amount, but News 6 learned the city has paid more than $17,000 to install the bypass pipe and an additional pump. City officials said there have not been any additional fees regarding law enforcement's responses to the flooding issues.
News 6 also learned the city did not file for permits with the Florida Department of Transportation before breaking ground on the project. City leaders said the developer has since applied for the permits and they are not looking into why that was not initially done.
FDOT released the following statement regarding the flooding at US 17-92 and the drainage system:
"This is a City of Maitland project, and involves the city and a private developer doing work to the west of U.S. 17-92.  As part of the project, the drainage system was blocked by the developer's contractor. As a result, the road has experienced flooding four times, which is impacting safety and the overall transportation network in the area. FDOT is taking action about the lack of permits and submission of plans to the department prior to construction, and demanding the developer obtain and submit them. The department is taking action to prevent flooding during construction, as FDOT reserves the right to take whatever steps necessary if future flooding occurs, which may impact the developer's project. The department is taking action and demanding to examine plans and calculations for the permanent configuration of the drainage system to ensure the system will be able handle water flow from U.S. 17-92 and the surrounding area."

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