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Flooding still an issue on Culbreath Road

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Published:   |   Updated: October 14, 2013 at 07:50 AM

BROOKSVILLE - It may be the dry season, but for a dozen or so homeowners along Culbreath Road, the water from previous storms is still making life miserable.

They can't get to their mailboxes. They risk damaging their vehicle. And some are racking up bills trying to find ways to deal with the problem.

Robert Grant lives on Carr Creek Drive, a private road with about four homes, that intersects with Culbreath. Grant said he spent $7,000 on a pickup just so he could navigate the flood waters covering Culbreath, which, at its worst in August, was at least 18-24 inches deep.

He uses the pickup to drive over the water so he can get to the post office for his mail and get groceries.

Fortunately, Grant said his home is high and dry and he and his wife are safe.

Except for a few days in August, the road has been closed since Sept. 24 and there is no end in sight to the flooding.

"I've spoken with neighbors and they've said they never seen it this bad in 40 years," Grant said.

There wasn't this much water on the road even after last year's Tropical Storm Debby, he said.

Stormwater engineer Clay Black visited the stretch of Culbreath south of Powell Road to Racehorse Lane on Wednesday and there was about 4 inches of water covering the road.

Black said the storms that hit Hernando County in August and September forced the county to post warnings on the road, closing it and advising people to take detours.

The road is still passable with trucks but, unfortunately, too many people are trying to brave the water with cars and risk causing damage to their vehicles, Black said.

Not only that, but trying to navigate through the road can cause further damage to the roadway and end up costing taxpayers.

Mark Gutman, engineering services manager, said that area is located at the bottom of a closed basin and the only option is to wait for the water to evaporate on its own.

"There's nothing you can do and there's no place to pump it," Gutman said. "It's just a lake."

Some people who live there are so used to regular flooding that it is called "Lake Culbreath," he said.

Gutman said there is nothing in the five-year capital improvement plan that calls for fixing Culbreath Road. There are too many permitting, flood plain and wetland issues, he said. The road cannot be raised at that spot due to the poor soils.

Emergency vehicles can get through, he said.

So how long will it take for all the water to evaporate?

"I don't know," Black said. "It doesn't appear that (the water) is receding as quickly as the (August) storm."

County Commissioner Dave Russell said he's referred the problem to the engineering department. He sympathizes with residents and is well aware of the seriousness of it because he too lives of Culbreath Road, albeit on the southern end where it is dry.

"It's terrible," Russell said. "Your heart goes out to them. There's just no place for the water to go. There's no place to pump it. There's just no way to dispose of the excess water."

Russell said the best way to describe the area is "a bowl in a bowl."

Meanwhile, Grant said he's not giving up and is trying to bring the matter to the attention of county commissioners and any official who will listen.

"I'm not selling, I'm not moving," he said. "My house is fine, you can live in it, everything works fine. It's just the access getting in and out."

mbates@hernandotoday.com

(352) 544-5290

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