Flooding shuts down problem area on Orlando Avenue in Maitland -- again

Shutdown comes after city officials promise no more flooding on roadway

By Erik von Ancken - Anchor/Reporter, Dawn Jorgenson - Graham Media Group

MAITLAND, Fla. - Officials shut down South Orlando Avenue at Monroe Avenue on Monday night due to flooding, after promising earlier in the day that the area would not flood again, no matter how much it rained.

City spokesperson Shauna Moulton said earlier that backup pumps "will be monitored constantly."

Moulton said that contractors blocked the drainage line that normally keeps U.S. 17-92 free from flooding to continue work on an ongoing drainage project at Monroe Avenue around Lake Gem.

"The City has been working for several years to make improvements to a drainage ditch along Monroe Avenue," Moulton said in an email. "This has been a much-needed project as Lake Gem is the recipient of massive amounts of storm water run-off from U.S.17-92 and is one of the top most impaired Lakes within the city."

Moulton said that more than 80 percent of the stormwater flowing into Lake Gem comes from sources outside the Orange County city. The construction project will use nutrient-reducing devices to eliminate some of the nutrients entering the lake and limiting debris.

Contractors blocked the drainage pipe on April 9 and installed a bypass pump to manually move standing water off U.S. 17-92.

The pump has failed several times recently, resulting in Monroe Avenue, also known as U.S. 17-92, flooding. It flooded two weeks ago right before rush hour, and again on Sunday afternoon and on Monday night.

"On the first occurrence, there was only one 16-inch bypass pump at the location, and when the rain event occurred this pump did not kick on as intended," Moulton said in the email. "Due to this occurrence, the developer replaced the 16-inch by-pass pump with two, 12-inch by-pass pumps to ensure redundancy at the site. On April 22, another rain event occurred, one by-pass pump came on, and the other did not."

Drivers were detoured and several cars were submerged. One driver had to be rescued from her car underwater.

Though Moulton said the pumps will be monitored all the time now to prevent more flooding incidents such as this from happening, the area had to be shut down Monday night in both directions.

Gary Thunburg, of Peacock Griffey Ford, at 1875 S. Orlando Ave., said the dealership had to close early because of the flooding.

"I can tell you, one of our office crew had a 45-minute trip even though she only lives three blocks away," Thunburg said. "They rerouted her around Eatonville and back around the city."

On Monday afternoon, a third bypass pump with a 12-inch drain line was placed at the project site.

"In recognition that this issue must be addressed immediately, city of Maitland Public Works staff are working directly with the developer and contractor to develop a permanent solution to this issue as the construction phase progresses," Moulton said in the email. "The site will be monitored constantly for weather and pump issues until the permanent drainage pipes are able to be installed. Maitland City Staff are working around the clock to address this issue."

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