Flooding Subsides with Research, Analysis, Feedback from Residents
Bailey Road residents are pleased Hillsborough County Public Works has taken steps to prevent water from pooling on the rural lane and in homeowners' yards during heavy rains.
"The road has not flooded since they've done the work," says Debby Keene, whose family moved to Bailey Road, which is north of Plant City, in 1964. "It seems to have helped considerably."
Listening to residents and assessing data from hydrological experts are keys to Public Works' ever-improving grasp of stormwater flows throughout Hillsborough County.
Before commencing a project, department analysts speak with residents in a given area. What's happening? What are possible solutions? Simultaneously, Public Works assesses data gathered by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Southwest Florida Water Management District, both of which have water measurement stations throughout Hillsborough County.
The Bailey Road area improvements address two challenges. They deter flooding on Bailey Road and move stormwater to a wetland preservation area that spans northeast Hillsborough and parts of adjoining counties.
To accomplish these goals Public Works installed drainage pipes, cleared brush and debris, and graded some areas to ensure stormwater flows away from Bailey Road and toward areas needing hydration. Much of the work took place east of the road, so area residents were not inconvenienced.
The project was not intended to stop stormwater from collecting in ditches beside Bailey Road during and after heavy rains. But it should prevent water from covering the pavement and pooling in yards, while also replenishing the wetland preservation area.
Flood mitigation is one of the core services of Public Works. Conferring with its partners, the department creates models for locations throughout the County so it can predict accurately what will happen if, say, an area is inundated with 7 inches of rainfall in one day. The models also help determine where and what types of stormwater structures or landscape alterations are needed at specific sites. The goal is to solve problems while not significantly affecting an area's natural hydrology.
Debby says overseers of the Bailey Road project were responsive and followed up with emails to area residents. "They listened," she says.