Thursday’s storm causes flooding at Dover intersection — again

DOVER — A brief but strong downpour created some problems for Dover travelers Thursday afternoon.

After some intermittent rain earlier, the skies opened up and dumped an inch of rain on Dover between approximately 3 and 4 p.m., according to the National Weather Service. The precipitation created flooding in several locations, particularly at the intersection of South Governors Avenue and the aptly named Water Street.

Police responded quickly, according to city manager Scott Koenig, setting up cones to try to block off two of the four paths at the intersection.

The Dover Public Library’s rear parking lot and the intersection of Reed and South Bradford streets also saw some flooding, Mr. Koenig reported. He did not know if there was any damage.

The area near South Governors Avenue and Water Street went from black top to water up high on the cars in just 10 minutes, according to an eyewitness at the Bayhealth Kent General Hospital complex.

The Water and South Governors intersection has been a trouble spot for at least 30 years, Mr. Koenig said.

Four inches of rain in July 2013 led to flooding that lasted several hours and caused several car accidents.

“The heavy thunderstorms in the summer create that almost instantaneous flow of water that backs up the storm drain system,” he said.

In a July 2014 interview, Mr. Koenig blamed bad piping, which he described as a cabbage-patch of different sizes and links,

“It’s an undersized link of pipe from the intersection of Water Street and Governors Avenue all the way back to the St. Jones River,” he said then.

The city is working on an upgrade for the storm drain, Mr. Koenig said Thursday. It is currently in the preliminary phase, with construction about two years away, he said. He estimated the cost would be about $4 million to $6 million, though he stressed that is a “rough” guess. He had previously placed the cost at between $7 million and $15 million.

Around 4 p.m. Thursday, just after the rain stopped, several inches of water covered part of the intersection. The bottom step of a nearby building was flooded, while water splashed up into the parking lot at Tire King.

One woman stopped to take pictures, complaining about the city’s drainage. Another individual leaned out of a car to snap a photo while driving by. A man at Tire King said past flooding in the area has caused thousands of dollars in damages.

At least three police cars, lights flashing, sat by the water as a warning to drivers.

Nonetheless, one SUV plowed through the pool, creating a massive splash and receiving shouts of encouragement from a nearby man.

The water typically drains away soon after the rain stops, Mr. Koenig said.

“Once it stops raining usually within a half hour or so most of the flooding is gone or receding,” he said.

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Reach staff writer Matt Bittle at mbittle@newszap.com

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