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Unincorporated McHenry residents blame roundabout construction for flooding in homes

Residents seek answers after they say roundabout work caused flooding

Alissa Dixon described the water as it filled her unincorporated McHenry County home Tuesday evening: “It was pouring in.”

“My whole basement had 2 to 3 feet of water,” she said. “Now we’re ripping everything out of the basement.”

Dixon, who lives in the 2600 block of Forestwood Drive, hasn’t seen her baby daughter much since the flooding began because she doesn’t want to expose her to harmful mold and mildew.

“It’s not safe for her here,” Dixon said, adding that the child is staying with a relative.

She – and other residents in the neighborhood southeast of South River and Dowell roads, east of Holiday Hills – believe a roundabout construction project at the intersection is to blame because construction crews didn’t finish their work on the drainage system.

“This has never happened before,” Dixon said. “Everybody who’s been affected on this street has tried getting ahold of [the county]. No response. Nothing.”

McHenry County Division of Transportation assistant engineer Jeff Young said the roundabout project is 25 percent complete.

The project involves replacing the three-way intersection – controlled by a single stop sign – with a roundabout to increase safety, improve traffic flow and correct the extreme skew of Dowell Road’s intersection with River Road.

Young said the county is “looking into” the neighborhood flooding and will figure out what, if anything, contributed to it.

“We don’t have an answer yet,” he said. “There’s a lot you have to analyze and take a look at.”

The McHenry County Division of Transportation brought pumps Wednesday to help drain the water, Dixon said, but it was too little too late.

“They said they wouldn’t come out until the morning,” said area resident Blake Gossage, adding that his family contacted the department Tuesday when the rain began to collect in ditches. “We called them the night before and told them we were inches away from starting to take on water.”

Gossage also blames the construction.

“Telling how they had to put the pumps in there and transfer it to another location, that means something in between wasn’t working,” he said.

His new wood floor is ruined, along with his daughters’ toys and electronics.

The smell of mildew filled the area Thursday morning as temperatures approached 80 degrees. Front yards were filled with dirty towels and rugs. Homes had soil and mulch on their paneling, a sign of how high the water had reached.

“If they would have come here [Tuesday] night and threw in a couple pumps, it would have never flooded,” Gossage said. “I did the best I could with fans and towels. I just put in new wood floors last summer, and now they’re soggy; they squish.”

Gossage’s father-in-law, Don Adams, said the county told him, “They’re going to look into it.”

He lived in that home for 30 years before renting it to his daughter and son-in-law.

“If it isn’t their fault, why did they bring the pumps?” he said. “There’s water everywhere. ... We got no response from the county at all [Tuesday].”

Neighbor Mike Dungjen also had water in his home.

“We’ve had harder rains than that, and it never flooded like that,” Dungjen said. “I’m tired of being frustrated.”

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