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City, NCDOT point fingers after Raleigh flooding

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Who is to blame for flooding in southeast Raleigh?

Businesses in the Tryon Business Center at 3305 Durham Drive in Raleigh have found themselves in a wet situation. Thursday dumped enough rain to form a miniature lake.

Several business owners told ABC11 the water could easily be 4-5 feet deep in some spots. The flash flooding also led to several cars sustaining heavy water damage. They were eventually towed.

Molly Maid owner Beth Lasasso runs her operation at the Tryon Business Center and said business has been affected.

"Most of our customers understand what's going on because they saw it on the news," she said. "All I want is just to be able to come in, run my business rain or shine, and not worry about my employees and their cars and not being able to service my customers."

The inconvenience prompted Lasasso and the owner of International Minute Press, who also occupies the business center, to reach out to local and state agencies for assistance. Both Lasasso and the owner of IMP, who did not want to be identified, said they reached out to the City of Raleigh and were told it was an NCDOT responsibility. Once they contacted the NCDOT, that's where the business owners said they hit a dead end.

With the recurring flooding and no end in sight, Lasasso is giving second thought to operating at Tryon.

Lasasso told ABC11, "This has made me re-evaluate this location, because as much as I love this location, it's very centrally located for my employees, my customers, it's going to be hard to continue with this."

ABC11 contacted the City of Raleigh and received the following response:

"The City of Raleigh's drainage infrastructure in the Durham Drive right-of-way is and has been clear of any obstruction. However, obstructions on private property are contributing to the recurring flooding. The City of Raleigh and the North Carolina Department of Transportation, which also owns right-of-way in this area, are negotiating with the private property owner to resolve this matter."

Following the City of Raleigh's response, we reached out to NCDOT. Its official response reads:

"Because of the incidents of flooding that affected Tryon Road (which is state-owned) and Durham Drive, DOT staff conducted site reviews in 2015 that included cameras being placed in the storm water drainage system, and it reviewed site plans from the Tryon Road widening project done in the 1980's.

It was determined that the intermittent flooding is caused by at least two "negligently" installed connections to the NCDOT-owned storm water drainage system located and under Tryon Road. The Department DID NOT authorize these private connections, which are causing the blockages that in turn are causing the flooding.

Those failed connections are located on properties owned by Weeks and Sherron, LLC. It is the NCDOT's opinion that the property owners have the responsibility for making the necessary corrections at those locations. A letter requesting the property owner to remove the blockages and repair the failed connections was sent to the property owners last month. General Statute 136-18(10) authorizes the NCDOT to order property owners at their own expense to remove or make changes to pipelines or similar obstructions that present hazards or interfere with highways.

As a followup to that letter, NCDOT staff members met with the City of Raleigh, the property owner, and the property owners lawyer in late April, at which time we advised all parties that we had NO involvement in the piping of this property or in the blockage of the pipe, to which both the property owner and the City of Raleigh agreed. We are currently waiting for a formal response to our request from the property owner."

ABC11 made several attempts on Friday to contact the property owner, but were unable to reach them for comment.


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