Neighbors still fighting city over ditch dilemma in Portsmouth


PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — 10 On Your Side is following up on flooding concerns in a Portsmouth neighborhood.

Nearly one year ago, neighbors in the Bide-A-Wee subdivision reached out to WAVY for help. They blamed the city for their flooding issues and were not getting any response.

They had massive flooding during Hurricane Matthew, as well as street flooding whenever there’s a heavy rain. Residents point to a ditch that runs behind the neighborhood along Bide-A-Wee Golf Course as the culprit.

As soon as 10 On Your Side started asking questions last October, Mayor John Rowe told us, “We have found that there’s a broken sewer main that we’re going to have to fix.”

The city did fix it just as the mayor said they would, but resident Karen Shackley says potential problems persist. “It took the smell away, but it had nothing to do the problem with our issue. It happened to just be at the same time because our issue is still ongoing.”

In an email to Shackley dated September 3, 2019, City Manager Dr. Lydia Pettis-Patton wrote: “Currently, we have two studies underway dealing with infrastructure, we will combine the efforts of the two studies to identify priority projects, addressing drainage and utility.”

Shakley told, “I appreciate that, I’m glad that’s taking place, but in the meantime we still have muck and guck.”

She pointed out to our crew about a foot of dirt, pine needles and trash on top of the cement bottom. She has asked for city crews to clear it so there’s a good flow when it rains.

“I’m just frustrated, very frustrated. I have other things that I can do besides worry about something we pay our taxes for,” she said

She’s gotten no response on that maintenance schedule from the city and neither have we.

However, Dr Pettis Patton did send this update Friday afternoon: “The Preliminary Engineering Report for the assessment by the Dept. of Engineering was submitted this week and is under review. The survey is complete for Basin #13 (DPU project). The Basis of Design Memo for this project is under review. Next steps for both efforts will be determined in October after review of both documents.”

10 On Your Side will continue to press the city for answers on the maintenance request.

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