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Fixing Vestavia Hills flooding problems won’t be easy

Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 5:03 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 20, 2021 at 7:02 PM CDT
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VESTAVIA HILLS, Ala. (WBRC) - It’s a problem that continues to hit several Vestavia Hills businesses. Once again, they are cleaning up after a big flood hit Monday afternoon. Businesses off of Highway 31 have had to do this several times over the years.

Vestavia Hills businesses don’t like it, but they have few options. Vestavia Hills and county leaders say they will again look at what happened, but their options are few when it comes to heavy rains in flood prone areas.

Cleanup crews were working Tuesday to sweep and wash away the mud from Monday’s flood.

Jefferson County Commissioner Steve Ammons, who lives in Vestavia Hills, assisted motorists who got caught in flood waters.

“It’s always amazing to see that amount of water come down in such a short period of time,” Ammons said.

Ammons, who served on the Vestavia Hills City Council, said this is a consistent problem over the years. Vestavia Hills leaders estimate they had about five inches of rain in a couple of hours.

“When you receive approximately ten percent of your annual rainfall in a couple of hours, there is no amount of storm water or infrastructure that can manage that,” said Vestavia Hills Communication Director Cinnamon McCulley.

McCulley said city crews were out checking storm drains and drainage ditches. The city, the county, and ALDOT perform regular maintenance to ensure flood waters can drain. This section of Vestavia Hills is prone to flooding. Businesses were built before flood restrictions and were grandfathered into place.

“According to today’s building standards, the businesses in flood way would never had been allowed to be built. Those in the flood plane, their base elevation would have to be raised 12 inches,” McCulley said.

Ammons would like to see more information to see if there is some sort of solution. “Get all parties together. Look at the data and what it shows and how we can move forward,” Ammons said.

Another problem: The area covers multi-jurisdictional entities. Vestavia Hills, Hoover, Jefferson County, and ALDOT. Patton Creek, which travels through the area, goes across various cities. It looks like it’s a problem that won’t go away anytime soon.

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