Flooded homeowners blame county road project for problems

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by Natalie Brand

Bio | Email | Follow: @NatalieBrand

azfamily.com

Posted on September 3, 2013 at 10:17 PM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 11 at 7:24 AM

APACHE JUNCTION, Ariz. -- Some frustrated homeowners in Apache Junction say they're dealing with flooding, and they're blaming it on some changes in a county road.

We first introduced you to Diane Langenwalter-de Jong on Friday after the monsoon made a mess of her Apache Junction home on South Malcolm Drive.

Her family spent Labor Day weekend cleaning up; four days later, they’re still cleaning. “We had to set up fans; put stuff on blocks,” said Langenwalter-de Jong. “Everything has to be bleached and sanitized.”

She’s now worried about the possibility of mold spores growing in her walls. The de Jong family says flooding occurs every rainstorm, but it didn’t used to. She blames a road improvement project completed within the last decade.

“I’ve lived in this house over 20 years, and until they redid the roads, none of us got flooded. Now anytime any of us get any amount of rain, we end up getting flooded,” Langenwalter-de Jong told 3TV.

According to Maricopa County Department of Transportation, Malcolm Drive between Broadway Road and Apache Trail was originally paved in 2003, as part of a dust-mitigation, dirt road paving program.

“In this circumstance, the roadway was purposefully constructed with an inverted crown, or low area down the center of the roadway to continue to convey flows following a storm event,” said MCDOT spokeswoman Roberta Crowe.

Crowe also told 3TV MCDOT doesn’t consider South Malcolm a known trouble spot. She said maintenance records don’t indicate a history of problems.

Crowe said Malcolm was one of several southeast roads to experience flooding during the last storm due to its severity.

However, at least three longtime homeowners on South Malcolm told 3TV flooding was never an issue until the road project.

“We moved here when it was dirt. The street was dirt, and it was kind of angled; no problems,” said Valerie, a homeowner who declined to give her last name.

Her home also suffered flooding to the backyard during the last storm.

“We had damage to the side of the house,” she pointed. “Water came up and ate away at drywall.  They got to come in and do some sort of a drainage ditch,” said Valerie.

Her neighbor, Diane Langenwalter-de Jong now lives in fear of monsoon season and wants the county to know.

“If this was your house, what would you want done?” said Langenwalter-de Jong.

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