Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

DOT says road project did not cause mobile home park's flooding after Debby

BROOKSVILLE — Your mobile home park would have flooded in 1999, too.

That's the conclusion the Florida Department of Transportation is giving Woody Wirtz, the owner of Imperial Estates, after investigating his claim that the project to widen U.S. 41 in 2000 is the reason the water rose so high in Imperial Estates during Tropical Storm Debby in June.

Debby's floodwaters inundated about a dozen homes on the north side of the mobile home park that Wirtz's family has owned since 1976, four years after it opened.

Debby was the kind of rainmaker that comes about once a century, and Imperial Estates is in a low-lying area, so the flooding would have been just as bad before 41 was raised and widened to six lanes, DOT engineers say.

"The magnitude of the tropical storm Debby and the relatively low elevation of the property would have yielded essentially the same results even if the project had not been constructed," Debby Hunt, director of transportation development, wrote in a letter to Wirtz drafted last week.

The department used Debby's rainfall data, flood maps and surveys of the area before the widening project to simulate what would have happened had 11.8 inches of rain fallen in 24 hours with the old, two-lane roadway profile, said Megan Arasteh, a district drainage engineer for the department who met with Wirtz at the park.

Wirtz told Arasteh and other engineers that he believes the higher road, berms, driveways and retention ponds to the west and north of his property prevent water from draining away from the park.

"His perception is water travels from his property north, and that is not the case," Arasteh said.

In fact, she said, the park sits in a closed drainage basin that would have flooded regardless of the new road. There's a similar basin on the west side of 41 that also reached 100-year flood stage, Arasteh said. During a Debby rain event, the water in those basins has nowhere to go except to percolate into the ground.

"There's nothing we can do about it," Arasteh said.

Arasteh notified Wirtz of the findings by phone on Thursday. The department has also offered to provide him with a copy of the report.

Wirtz said Thursday he wanted to withhold judgment until he sees the report, but it was clear that DOT had a lot of convincing to do.

"It might have been 100-year flood," Wirtz said, "but it wouldn't have flooded us if they hadn't raised the road."

Tony Marrero can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1431.

DOT says road project did not cause mobile home park's flooding after Debby 08/16/12 [Last modified: Thursday, August 16, 2012 8:21pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Four-time Iditarod champ implicated in dog doping case, pulls out of 2018 race

    Sports

    A doping scandal has rocked yet another sport — this time, the competition that calls itself the "Last Great Race on Earth" — the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

    Dallas Seavey poses with his lead dogs Reef, left, and Tide after finishing the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Nome, Alaska, in March 2016. Four-time Iditarod champion Dallas Seavey denies he administered banned drugs to his dogs in this year's race, and has withdrawn from the 2018 race in protest. The Iditarod Trail Committee on Monday, Oct. 23, 2017, identified Seavey as the musher who had four dogs test positive for a banned opioid pain reliever after finishing the race last March in Nome. [Associated Press]
  2. Kriseman calls on national Democrats in final push for St. Pete mayor's race

    Blogs

    Days before the Aug. 29 mayoral primary, Mayor Rick Kriseman snagged a rarely-given endorsement from former president Barack Obama, backing that may have helped push the mayor to a narrow victory over Rick Baker.

  3. Police: Clearwater man attempted to rob Largo Speedway with knife

    Crime

    LARGO — A Clearwater man is facing multiple charges after police say he tried to rob a Speedway store with a knife early Tuesday morning.

    Geoffrey Davis, 31, faces a charge of armed robbery after Largo police said he attempted to steal items from a Speedway at 2698 Roosevelt Blvd. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
  4. From the food editor: Shout out to my husband, the world's least picky eater, with this bowl of pappardelle

    Cooking

    Oh, hello, end of October. When the heck did you get here?

    Pappardelle with Cream Sauce and Mint. Photo by Michelle Stark, Times food editor.
  5. Bucs: Quick and easy fixes for what ails Tampa Bay?

    Bucs

    The Bucs are 2-4 and have lost five straight road games, so there's plenty to fix. What's the quickest and easiest fix for coach Dirk Koetter and Tampa Bay? The Times' Bucs coverage team weighs in:

    PLAY A COMPLETE GAME

    Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter, seen during the first half, had a heck of a day calling plays, Tom Jones writes. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]