Neighbors ask officials to address constant flooding along Palm Beach Boulevard

Author: Camila Pereira
Published: Updated:

Heavy rains often turn Palm Beach Boulevard into a nightmare for drivers, like it did on Sunday. As multiple cars were stuck in ankle-deep waters on the roads.

“That’s just like 2-3 hours of rain,” said Hugo Fegueroa, owner of a local auto repair shop. “Yeah, it’s tough when it rains like that.”

Many were stranded, as they waited for the floodwaters to recede. Or left without a car.

Fegueroa said he gets cars in his shop with floodwater damage every time it rains like this.

“This weekend, I only got one, because it’s really in bad conditions,” he said. “The engine and the electronics are just a total loss. And then last week, we got a couple of cars too.”

Drivers along with people who live and work there have asked for days, weeks, months and years: When will this drainage problem be fixed?

Especially as this summer has started to look like a wet one.

But Director of Public Works for the City of Fort Myers, Peter Bieniek said it’s not such an easy fix.

“Some parts of Fort Myers that are below sea level, we call them bowls,” said Bieniek. “Basically, where the water runs through, those are going to very difficult areas to address. It’s a statewide issue more so on the coastal areas in South Florida. I don’t want to say this is the norm. But the big thing is that our systems are designed to handle them.”

However, it doesn’t help that the stormwater pipes are almost at sea level.

It’s a complex issue – one that’s being worked on with the state to get something done about it.

“We are in the process of doing right now a stormwater master plan,” Bieniek said. “That stormwater master plan, we’ll look at the city as a whole. It’s going to take a three-year process to get the full stormwater master plan, then that stormwater master plan is going to be good for 10 years.”

With no quick fixes, many took matters into their own hands, helping tow cars stuck in the floodwaters or clearing out storm drains before expected heavy rain events.

Because everyone knows help is needed – and now.

“I hope you know it gets better the situation with the flood, you know because it’s certain parts of Palm Beach,” said Hugo Fegueroa. “Especially this area here. I hope they fix it.”

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