JARRATT, Va. (WRIC) — Robert Branch Jr. woke up one day to find his home in Jarratt had become waterfront property — but not the kind he wants.
“It is a river,” he said, looking at the steady stream of water running through his yard.
On the day 8News visited Branch’s home, it hadn’t rained in Jarratt in three days, yet a pool of water covered much of his yard.
“This is what I see every day and it is irritating,” he said. “I can’t come outside, especially in the summertime with the mosquitoes.”
Branch was not the only one with water troubles. Across the street, water sits in a ditch
and next door his neighbors have flooding too.
“Everybody’s been complaining,” Branch said.
The flooding stemmed from two collapsed drainage pipes in the area, and at least one of the pipes is maintained by VDOT.
“When it rains it gets worse,” Branch explained.
He said sometimes the water backs up under his home and has spent more than $20,000 dollars in repairs to his foundation and crawl space. Branch said put in multiple work orders over the years with VDOT.
“VDOT keeps telling us that the problem is solved and nothing is being done,” he said.
Fed up and feeling he was getting the runaround, Branch called 8News for help.
The town’s Mayor, Melanie Wilson told us VDOT had promised to make repairs but said it was going to take some time.
“It’s just frustrating and I just want the problem solved and my money back,” Branch said.
Two weeks after 8News started looking into the complaint, crews were outside Branch’s home. Tommy Catlett, VDOT Resident Engineer, Franklin Residency, declined to go on camera but said in a statement that “VDOT is committed to helping Mr. and Mrs. Branch find relief.”
He also said:
“There are two collapsed pipes in the area. The pipe not near the railroad tracks does not drain from the Branch residence and is not related to this issue. However, we are aware of it and are working to resolve it. Water from the pipe that drains from the Branch residence drains under Nicholson Street, crosses under a private driveway that has failed outside of the right of way, goes down a private ditch adjacent to the abandoned railroad tracks outside of the right of way, and ends under the abandoned CSX railroad.”
8News checked back in with VDOT a few days later and we were told VDOT crews had since “gained access to the private property from the landowner and replaced the driveway pipe.” They also said the crews were “able to open the railway pipe and water is now draining properly.”
Branch tells us he has already seen improvements and is very thankful. As far as getting reimbursed for the damage to his home, we’re told Branch’s property is in the CSX right of way and he now needs to file a claim with them.
In the meantime, Mayor Melanie Wilson tells us drainage issues are nothing new in Jarratt and she is working on some grants to help with the long-standing water problems.