No immediate relief for flooded streets in South Tampa | News
Tampa, Florida -- Another day of heavy rain meant more flooding in South Tampa. It may be predictable, but it's got a lot of frustrated people asking, whatever happened to the city's promise to solve the water woes?
The morning flood created frightening, frustrating moments for Amanda Maddrey. Her car sputtered to a stop at the flooded intersection of Henderson and Dale Mabry just after 8 a.m.
Photo Gallery: Rain, flooding in Tampa Bay
"That's scary," she said, "because I was definitely trying to cross an intersection when it shut down."
Like so many others, Amanda wonders what happened to the city's promise to address the flooding issues at her iffy intersection, as well as Bayshore Boulevard.
In 2006, then-Mayor Pam Iorio spearheaded a $50 million project that, much like Amanda's car, ended up stalling.
Nearby businesses, like Performance Computer Group just a block away, say it hurts them too. Dave Moss, who works at the store says traffic grinds to a halt.
"People can't get to us, or they avoid us because a lot of people know about the South Tampa area and its flooding," he said.
Unfortunately, if you drive in any of those areas, don't expect any relief any time soon. While the flood waters have not dried up, the funding for projects to relieve it certainly has.
"We just don't have that kind of money today," said Irv Lee, the city's Public Works Director.
The proposed fix also suffered political backlash from South Tampa residents who complained their oak trees, side walks and home foundations might suffer from the massive construction effort.
In the meantime, the loss of revenue in the city means the public works folks have to prioritize. Structural flooding relief takes priority. Flooding that's actually damaging people's homes and businesses.
Intersections are lower on the list.
In the meantime the current system does work, says Lee.
"Given a reasonable amount of time, the water goes down and we're working on solutions to try to lessen some of those peaks."
Until then, just as other city's roads occasionally shut down from snow, South Tampa will continue to deal with Summer flooding.
There is a plan to try to relieve flooding in the area around Henderson and Dale Mabry. The city is thinking about a retention pond to the west of the intersection that would allow the water to travel less distance and filter itself naturally.
That's important, because a filtered project that naturally treats the water will get matching funds from SWFMD.
The estimated $30 million cost would then be only half as expensive for city of Tampa.
As for Bayshore Boulevard? Sorry. The city says there is no plan currently in the works to relieve the regular flooding there.