Residents frustrated with flood prone neighborhood, county commissioner says fix not that simple

HARTSELLE, Ala. - Residents living on Targum Road in Hartselle say they are tired of the road flooding every time it rains. Morgan County Commissioner Randy Vest says people need to have a plan in place in case it does flood, and there are several reasons why there's not an easy fix to the problem.

"We are really just begging and pleading for someone to help us. We are not asking for anything over, above, and beyond what anyone else would ask for. But we think we are in reason to ask for help," said Connie Boteler.

Connie Boteler said the flooding on Targum Road is simply a hazard. "People who don't know this road and don't realize it floods; they will be in the water and off the road before they even realize what happened."

Boteler said Morgan County Commissioner Randy Vest's solution to fix the problem seems like he is sending a message. "We feel like we are so small and that was just kind of saying we are not important enough."

Commissioner Vest said homeowners should have a plan in place if they need to get through the flooded waters, like parking their vehicles on the other side of the water. "We can't park on the other side of that water and walk back. My mother-in-law, who lives next door, is 86-years-old she can't walk back. What if we are all at work and she needed her car or emergency vehicles? No one could get to her," Boteler explained.

Boteler said even if they did park the cars down the road, that's more than a mile and it's not reasonable. "Okay, when would you go park your car there, like last night before this rain or today? Is my car suppose to be down there today? So if I need out before it floods I have to go back to my car. It's ridiculous."

She said even with the little bit of rain on Monday you can see how close the water is to coming across the road.

Morgan County Commissioner Randy Vest said they've done some work to try to fix the flooding issue on Targum Road. "We've done as much as we could where the water does go. We did so by upsizing and placing new pipes there," Commissioner Randy Vest said.

Commissioner Vest said the area lies in a low, flat area and he puts a lot of the blame on beavers. "Years ago a lot of that was farmland and the farmers would keep those beaver dams out and eradicate the beavers themselves. Over time that property has been sold and bought several times and changed hands," Commissioner Vest said.

Vest said no one farms the land anymore and the beavers have taken over. "Because those are private properties we can not go in and address those. We do have a permit with the county through the Wildlife and Fisheries where we can eradicate the beavers on the right of way," Commissioner Vest said.

Connie Boteler said Commissioner Vest suggested she contact the landowner and have them get a permit to remove the dams or ask if she can remove the dams herself. "She asked me if they could do that and I said, 'If the property owner gives you that permission, then yes. It would be legal for you to do that,'" Commissioner Vest said.

Vest said because it`s private property they can`t go onto the land. "Even if they signed a paper and said I give you permission to go in there and do it. That doesn't make it legal," Commissioner Vest said.

Boteler just wants a solution, like building a bridge. "In order to keep the road from flooding it will take about $3 million to elevate a mile and half of the road and put in a bridge. Once you do that you have elevated the road, you created a dam; which then holds that water back onto the private property owners. This would cause their homes to flood," Commissioner Vest said.

Vest said the only recommendation he has is to make arrangements just in case it does flood.

He said he does feel bad for folks living over there, but there's not a lot they can do. He said each district gets about $700,000 a year for road maintenance. They have more than 200 roads to maintain in District 2.