Residents in parts of Broward County are no strangers to the effects of heavy rainfall and flooding during the rainy season. However, for those living in Fort Lauderdale Beach, the problem has escalated to a new level, causing roads to be submerged and making driving conditions difficult.
The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has responded to this issue by taking steps to install a backflow preventer. The device is designed to halt tidal waters from entering the stormwater drainage system, mitigating the flooding caused by king tides. This solution is expected to reduce the risk of flooding in the area, but residents in Fort Lauderdale Beach are becoming impatient, as they have been coping with the problem for an extended period.
Along A1A and Sunrise Blvd, the streets and sidewalks are frequently covered in water, which is concerning for residents, as flooding can cause significant damage. Matthew Rossman, a resident in Fort Lauderdale, states that this area is “probably one of the worst spots,” while Oscar D Ruiz Jr. shares that “the water comes up right up to where the bar is. And it comes up really quick, fast.”
The City of Fort Lauderdale and the FDOT have deployed in-house resources and asset maintenance contractors to respond to flooding events, but residents feel that more must be done to address the problem.
Mayor of Fort Lauderdale, Dean Trantalis, believes that flood mitigation should be a priority item, stating that “there’s a lot more work to be done” on the beach. Mayor Trantalis has encouraged the state to take a more aggressive approach to fixing the issue.
The City of Fort Lauderdale and the state share interconnected drainage systems, with the outfall handling water from local streets and state roads. The FDOT has already examined and cleaned the stormwater drainage system serving Sunrise Blvd, A1A, and local streets. In January, the department’s maintenance contractor replaced a section of the collapsed pipe near the primary outfall to the Intra-coastal Waterway.
The installation of the backflow preventer is planned before the rainy season. Along with the replaced collapsed pipe and forthcoming improvements, it should minimize the risk of flooding in the area.
Drivers in South Florida must be vigilant and prepared for changing weather conditions. Although the City of Fort Lauderdale has allocated resources to assist with flooding, it is still a challenge for the community.