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Alachua County hopes to reopen Northwest 39th Avenue by the weekend

Published: Jul. 13, 2021 at 5:12 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -After Tropical Storm Elsa moved through, three feet of standing water accumulated with both the rainfall and excess drainage. Alachua County Public Works Director Ramon Gavarrete said the goal is to reopen the busy road by the end of the week, but nothing is set in stone.

When asked why there weren’t any pumps to relieve some of the water build up, Gavarrete said that there isn’t a ‘pump solution’ to this issue. The pumps currently being used nearby are adding to the already-flooded road.

“Unfortunately since we are pumping from hillside Santa Fe and the south end of Meadowbrook Golf Course, the water pumping from there is going towards 39th Avenue because that’s the only outlet from that side,” Gavarrete explained.

He said the water should recede enough to reopen the road once the water pumps are no longer needed in that area.

“We’ll keep pumping from hillside Santa Fe for at least another few days, and then 39th will come down and hopefully reopen,” Gavarrete said.

Related Story: Water levels yet to recede to ‘normal’ along Santa Fe River

Residents around the area are frustrated with how long the drainage is taking. Gavarrete said he hasn’t seen it this bad since 2004.

One long-term homeowner said the detour significantly complicates his commute.

“I live 1 mile from where I work and instead of taking 5 to 7 minutes, it now takes me 25 to 35 minutes,” Lancaster said.

He said he couldn’t remember a time where this busy road was closed for more than a few days.

Gavarrete wanted to remind motorists not to drive through the barricades, as many cars have already been towed after getting stuck in the water.

He said in times like this, patience is a virtue.

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