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"Something's wrong:" Businessman says stormwater fix flooded downtown Naples

FDOT said the emergency repair drained the water away faster and instead, the agency blamed the high volume of rainfall.
Flooding in Downtown Naples week of June 10
Posted at 6:15 PM, Jun 14, 2024

NAPLES, Fla — A Naples business owner is raising concerns that recent road repairs by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) have worsened flooding on his street after his motor business’s parking lot was inundated with water.

Robert Weissenborn, who owns Naples Armature Works, described seeing 2.5 feet of water outside his business this week. "It never flooded that bad. Ever," he said.

Watch Robert's story here — do you think the repair is to blame?

"Something's wrong:" Businessman says stormwater fix flooded downtown Naples

Inches of water pooled in front of his business, flowing into the parking and hitting the side of the building as cars drove by.

Weissenborn's family has owned Naples Armature Works for more than 60 years, and he says this type of flooding—from a non-hurricane event—is not normal. "I've been looking out that window for probably the better part of 45 years," he added.

He believes that new buildings in the area have reduced the number of fields that used to absorb water, leading to more runoff ending up on the street.

naples flooding FDOT repairs businessman armature
Robert Weissenborn owns Naples Armature Works and believes the emergency repair by FDOT in October somehow made flooding worse this week.

Last October, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) performed a sudden stormwater repair, shutting the road down for several days. Weissenborn said that’s when drainage problems began.

"Something is definitely wrong… it’s not draining like it used to. It was never great, but it was never this bad," he explained.

In a statement on Friday, FDOT said that in October they had conducted an emergency repair because the drainage pipe under the roadway was broken in several places and leaking.

"The repair itself should have made the water recede from the road surface faster, not slower. The recent storms in particular have caused roadway flooding due to the high volume of water coming down. Unfortunately, some of the worst rainfall coincided with high tide, which gave the water nowhere to exit."

Florida Department of Transportation