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Homeowner feels stranded after storm leaves road impassable

Posted at 10:41 PM, Aug 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-21 00:51:44-04

Lori Hall-Underwood is fed up with the roads in her neighborhood.

“I want to move,” she said. “I want to get out of here. I feel stranded, I feel hopeless.”

Friday’s downpour left the dirt roads here in the Pioneer Village subdivision so badly damaged that emergency responders can’t reach her home.

Lori explained that an ambulance or fire truck couldn’t make it through the mud and ruts without getting stuck.

“They had the Hanover Fire Department come out, my husband came out and walked up to them because they couldn’t get down here.”

The roads here are privately owned, not maintained by the County. In 2013, the residents voted to tax themselves to create a Public Improvement District to pay for road maintenance.

County Commissioner Longinos Gonzalez Jr. explained that the contractor hired by the PID board didn’t do such a great job.

He explained that the roads haven’t been graded this summer because of delays associated with County efforts to recoup some of the money that was paid to that vendor.

“We entered into negotiations with the previous contractor and we actually retained some of the money because it did not meet the standards that were asked for in the previous contract,” Gonzalez said.

The County recovered $5,000 of the $30,000 contract. That money will be applied to a new contract.

Public Works Director Jim Reid said that a contract meeting was held Monday to select the new vendor.

“So, hopefully, today we’ll have a schedule for those good folks and we’ll be able to tell them which roads are going to be impacted.”

While the work should begin soon, it’s not soon enough for Hall-Underwood who explained that she has a child with recurring medical conditions. The lack of access to emergency services has her looking at all her options.

“Until we can move, I’m looking at resources that I can afford to take care of this (road) because it’s a health risk for my family and for my animals.”

About a mile and a half south of her home, around a dozen County dump trucks lined up along a paved section of Boca Raton Heights. The flood waters Friday sent dead trees and other large debris crashing into metal drainage culverts here.

It clogged and damaged the pipes, and it water rushing over the road surface eroding the banks of the drainage ditch.  County employees worked for hours to reopen a single lane across that stretch of road Friday night.

Reid said the repair work will likely cost around $100,000. It could take crews until the end of the week to finish the cleaning and repairs.