Residents around E. Henry St. want city to be more proactive abo - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Residents around E. Henry St. want city to be more proactive about major flooding issue


With the possibility of heavy rain, residents on East Henry Street in Savannah know that means the possibility of flooding. 

The street often floods under a railroad overpass, and over the years, several cars have gotten stuck, leaving drivers stranded as their cars filled up with water. Residents want the city to be more proactive to prevent the issue. 

Two signs serve as the only warnings drivers have that the street could be flooded up ahead. Residents say watching people get stranded is scary, and they want the city to put up barricades before someone else gets stuck. This is a problem we've been reporting for a decade, and something Ebony Clark has been living on East Henry Street for only three months. 

"It was scary. They had children in the car and everything, so I was worried. We tried to call, we called the police, and they said some other people had been calling too because everybody was down there trying to help them and trying to get them, get the kids and everything out of the car," Clark said. 

East Henry Street sits in Alderman Bill Durrence's district, and he says it's flooded for as long as he can remember. 

"When I was working at the newspaper as a photographer 50 years ago, I would take pictures of cars flooding in this underpass," said Alderman Durrence, District 2. 

The city has two 'street closed when flooded' signs posted on the street at Atlantic Avenue, but Clark doesn't think they're enough to truly warn drivers. 

"Sometimes, people don't realize how bad the flood is," she said. "Even right now, it’s raining. We don’t know how long it’ll take before it starts to flood because it’s not raining as hard, but when it rains really hard, it takes a minute for them to come out here with the barricades.”

The signs are about a one-minute drive from the overpass on the one-way street, and Clark says you can't see the flooding from that far away. 

Durrence says it's not realistic to expect the city to block a street every time it floods and says drivers should use common sense. 

"We don't have the resources to go out and put up barricades every time a street has some standing water in it. That would cost a fortune," the alderman said. 

Savannah Public Information Administrator Michelle Gavin says the city does barricade impassable streets, and on days like this Wednesday, Public Works crews are on standby. Clark says the barricades usually come after a car has gotten stuck, and she hopes the city is more proactive in the future. 

"Pay attention to it because, you know, that's dangerous. Like I said, the children were in the car and the flood actually came up to the window. It was scary. I don't know...I just...I was really worried," she said. 

Gavin says even if they put up the barricades, some drivers will go around them. She says you should never do that - and even though East Henry is a one-way street, never try to drive through flood waters. 

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