‘It’s like a river:’ Residents say nearby construction project is flooding street

FDOT working with contractor for a long-term fix

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – After only about an hour of rain Wednesday, residents in Seminole County said the flooding in their neighborhood turned Penelope Drive into Penelope River.

“This is the worst that it’s been,” said Katie Barrell. “It was a little concerning how close it was coming, I feel like if it were to rain another hour even it would have been worse.”

Barrell said the flooding on her street began about six months ago once she said major construction was happening up the hill at the end of her block on the E.E. Williamson Bridge. That project, though not directly related, is expanding an exit in Longwood part of the I-4 Ultimate and Beyond.

“Whenever it rains, you can see the dirt and the sand that’s being brought to the surface over there where they are building, and it’s like a river when it comes down Penelope,” she said.

However, Barrell said it has never been this bad.

“Typically they will come through and scoop up the dirt after the water recedes, but this is the first time it has not receded at all,” she added.

Two doors down Mike Werner, sent an e-mail to Seminole County officials who for the first time put out road closed signs, this after his wife stalled out in her brand new Hyundai Elantra.

“She got it probably two months ago, and it got water in the engine now and I don’t know what to do,” Werner said. “It wasn’t even like this during a hurricane. We are already in a flood zone so you can’t clog the drains, there is water everywhere.”

Even though Seminole County put up the road closed signs, the responsibility falls on the contractor of the construction projects, hired by the Florida Department of Transportation.

“I think the way that you guys handle getting results, that I feel pretty confident something will happen,” Barrell said.

After contacting FDOT Thursday morning, a spokesperson said, “immediately after being made aware of these concerns, FDOT and the project team were on scene investigating and working to address any issues. It appears from initial investigation that the drainage issue may have stemmed from soil washing up into the drainage pipe, which caused a blockage.”

FDOT said the construction crews cleared out the blockage, but will also be placing a pump to help with the drainage in the area temporarily. FDOT said they also have asked the contractors to implement a long term plan to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

“I appreciate you guys coming out here,” Werner added. “I thank you guys for being there for the public and that’s important. Without you guys I don’t know if we will get anything done.”

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