BROOKSVILLE — What residents and drivers experienced along Barnett Road last week wasn't just a bad storm, it was a case of deja vu.
Heavy rains had covered the road, flowed into yards and forced Hernando County Public Works employees to close the street and drag out pumps to move the stormwater from the low-lying area.
If it sounds familiar, that's because this has been a recurring problem for years. It is one, however, that residents had hoped might be fixed by now.
Last August, County Administrator David Hamilton, along with then-County Commissioner Diane Rowden, waded into deep water in that area after a storm. Hamilton, who was then relatively new to the county, was upset that residents had been enduring high water for years. He called Public Works staff from the scene and ordered an immediate response.
Calling it both a safety and public health concern, Hamilton also vowed he would find a permanent solution.
Nearly a year has passed, and deep pools of water still remain after heavy summer storms.
County public works director Charles Mixson said this week that help really is on the way.
"We put some money in the budget for design work for this year and plan construction next year,'' he said. That construction will involve piping, swales and storm drains; and county workers are talking to water management district officials to be sure the plan works.
Eventually, the pipes, drains and ditches will funnel rainwater into a natural drainage system that will direct the water to the Peck Sink area, Mixson said.
Poor drainage has caused a variety of problems for years. Sometimes the water gets high enough to seep into homes. The standing water on the road also undermines the road itself.
Some residents have blamed construction of the Wal-Mart supercenter for the change in the drainage patterns, but another lot that had a sinkhole was filled in recently, impacting the whole drainage system.
Mixson said he was confident that, once the details are worked out and the funding is available to construct a proper drainage system, the promised permanent solution will be realized.
"I think we've got a game plan,'' he said.
Barbara Behrendt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1434.