PORTSMOUTH — This weekend's storms caused significant flooding in several parts of the city, including an impassable Bartlett Street overpass and washed out Maplewood Avenue work site.
The intense, mid-afternoon downpour on Sunday also caused flooding on Parrott Avenue and Hanover Street, said Public Works Director Peter Rice. Several of the flooding sites were likely exacerbated by ongoing construction work, he said.
"What we saw yesterday was an intense downpour, and even in the best of conditions, we likely would have seen flooding," Rice said. "Plus we had compromised drainage because of construction."
Bartlett Street is a historically low spot, and has seen flooding in years past. But Rice said on Sunday, "it was about as high as I've seen it in ages." He noted the flooding did subside relatively quickly.
On Maplewood Avenue, which has been under construction for two summer seasons now, flooding caused damage to properties as a result of the active work sites. Rice said DPW received about a half a dozen calls from people with damage. The Maplewood Avenue contractors have insurance, he noted, and will have to "restore people's properties to how they were."
The project includes a comprehensive full road reconstruction and underground utility replacement on Maplewood Avenue from Woodbury Avenue to the Maplewood Avenue Bridge over the Route 1 bypass.
Staff were on site Monday morning following up and assessing damage. Maplewood Avenue will be paved soon, Rice said, which will help address future water issues.
"Getting inundated with that kind of water is scary and something that is very frustrating for people," Rice said. "Unfortunately it happened on a Sunday when no one was available and it took staff a bit to get mobilized."
The city of Portsmouth itself has historically had flooding issues, Rice said, and when high tide and a storm hit at the same time, "there's only so much you can do to move water out."
DPW staff will continue to assess Sunday's flooding, and improve response and anticipation, Rice said.