New firm takes look at Port Orange’s old flood woes
Published: Thursday, November 12, 2015 at 2:24 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, November 12, 2015 at 7:23 p.m.
PORT ORANGE — A new engineering firm is taking a look at what caused parts of the city to flood last year and how to stop the area’s ongoing flooding problems.
After the 2004 hurricanes swamped the city’s riverside, historic amounts of rainfall in May 2009 overwhelmed the Halifax Canal and it swelled with 3.1 billion gallons of water over five days — resulting in widespread flooding and the closure of Dunlawton Avenue, Port Orange’s major east-west evacuation route.
The road closed for nearly three days, and afterwards the city spent about $2.8 million in federal and state grants on several Dunlawton flood control projects and about $750,000 to acquire nearby land for retention ponds. Despite the city’s efforts, Dunlawton and surrounding streets flooded again in September 2014, and city officials were forced to close Dunlawton from Spruce Creek Road to Powers Avenue for more than 12 hours.
City residents on Tuesday focused their questions on a berm in a talk with the newest engineers assigned to the project. CDM Smith Inc., a Jacksonville consulting, construction and engineering firm, is the latest in a string of engineering firms who are attempting to abate the city’s recurring flooding concerns.
Residents spoke about how high the water rose in their homes after Michael Schmidt, senior vice president for CDM Smith, spread out maps of the city that were highlighted in areas of historical flooding.