Business owners, drivers on Fowler Street fed up with flooding

During periods of heavy rainfall, sections of Fowler Street in Fort Myers have become impassable to many vehicles. And one frustrated business owner on that street doesn’t expect improvements any time soon.

“Every time it rains, at least the right lanes on both sides of the road flood,” said Bryan Waid, the general manager of Fort Myers Marine. “It’s six, eight inches of water so the traffic will back up in the middle lanes so they can get to the traffic lights.”

And the consequences of flooding on Fowler Street are building up.

“It comes into the building and it comes into our garage. Everything has to be raised. The guys are always sandbagging the doors,” Waid said. “We walk through several inches of water and get the place locked up and hope for the best.”

After years of struggling both professionally and personally, Waid says he’s had enough of the flooding problems.

“To try to get customers to come in, you’re walking around in four inches of water and certainly don’t wanna do that,” he said. “A lot of times we can’t even get out of the lots.”

Waid wants to see storm drainage along the busy street improved.

“It would be nice if they could do something. I don’t anticipate them doing anything just because it’s probably always been like this,” Waid said.

The Florida Department of Transportation says this week’s flooding on Fowler included another factor—one they can’t control.

“There were debris and trash that had clogged up some of the drainage out there so crews are going to be working on it the rest of this week and into next week to clean out the whole drainage system,” spokesperson Zach Burch said.

Burch adds that FDOT is working with the city of Fort Myers for a long-term solution as people working and driving on Fowler Street hope for less rain.

Reporter:Melinda Lee