Flooding headaches for Long Beach residents

LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - By Krystal Allan – bio | email

LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - When it rains, the water pours into Charles Connell's front yard off Commission Road. Connell says, it's not uncommon to see as much as four inches of standing water in his yard.

"You almost have to put on rubber boots to do anything, so it's gotten worse," said Connell.

A few feet west on Alverado Road, neighbors like Steven McCaleb have similar concerns.

"It flooded my garage twice on two floods, and they had to close the roads in three other floods," said McCaleb.

Both point to an access road stretching from Pineville to Commission Road and subsequent turning lanes as the problem.  The access road sits just west of Harper McCaughn Elementary school. It's Long Beach schools, not the city, who was in charge of the project. The roadwork sits on school land and was paid for by FEMA.

The firm hired to oversee the design of the project is Eley Guild Hardy Architects. Eley Guild Hardy brought on Neel-Schaffer, Inc., as contracted engineers for the project.

Roberts said open ditches that helped to minimize flooding on Commission Road had to be taken out when the road was widened to add turning lanes. Doug Roberts, one of the project coordinators, said drainage had to be moved underground.

"In doing so, the flow patterns changed slightly, and you're left dealing with a unique problem with all the stuff being underground. When things start backing up, you question where are things coming from," said Roberts.

Roberts said due to FEMA funding restrictions, they weren't allowed to look into other drainage issues beyond the scope of their project and school land, problems that could be contributing to the problem. The firm, however, said it is mapping out possible solutions.

"Now, we're looking at options of getting the water and taking it down across our site and to the south, down Pineville Road outfall rather than dumping it all out on Commission," said Roberts.

Roberts said ultimately, the water would move through the wetlands and end up in the canal taking it away from Pineville Road.

Roberts said his firm, engineers from Neel-Schaffer, the mayor, city engineers and the school board superintendent had a productive meeting regarding the situation this past Thursday.

He also said by the end of this week there should be a working solution in place; however, the project must still approved by FEMA and the city before any work can begin.

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