Westside residents say drainage project is actually making flooding worse

After days of rain, we're hearing from residents on Jacksonville's Westside about flooding in the Whitehouse area. They say a recent project is making the flooding worse.

WHITEHOUSE, Fla. – For days, Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia have been dealing with heavy rain which has resulted in areas of Clay County flooding along the Black Creek.

Residents on Jacksonville’s Westside are also dealing with flooding in the Whitehouse area.

Residents there said a recent drainage project meant to alleviate flooding is actually making the flooding worse.

For at least a mile along both sides of Old Plank Road, the water collected in culverts drains into a ditch, which residents said presents a problem that’s two-fold.

The Old Plank Road Outfall Improvements project was meant to help control water flow in Jacksonville’s Whitehouse area on the Westside.

News4Jax obtained an email from the engineering firm working on the plan. It said: “The project was designed to reduce the flooding of a 100-year storm. We will evaluate the project to see if it is functioning properly. If we find that the design was in error then the city will take steps to correct the situation”

One Whitehouse resident told News4Jax flood has been an issue.

“I had to park my car at the street, because the water was going inside my tailpipe,” the resident said.

The resident said they had issues before, but in places it seems worse.

Wiley Yarber lives north of the project.

“I had the lights turned on my property in 1980,” Yarber said.

His driveway was washed away.

Yarber said in the 40 years he’s lived there he has never experienced flooding like this aside from a hurricane. He blames the project.

“The other thing I am concerned about is leaving my home in case something happens to my wife to get her to the hospital, I might be stuck here,” he said.

Another area resident said he has never had flooding quite like this either.

“It’s just the volume of water we have coming in here now that’s what the problem is,” he said.

Amy McCall lives along McGirts Creek.

“It’s giving us a full cup that we’re already managing on our own, now they’re dumping a two-liter into it and saying it’s your issue to keep managing,” McCall said.

The resident’s complaint have caught the attention of Jacksonville councilmembers.

“I want to be a voice, for the residents who live out here, I want to continue to work with my colleague Randy White and we want to make sure the voices are heard and this gets taken care in a timely manner,” said Ju’Coby Pittman, District 8 Councilwoman.

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