Homeowners on historic Brown County road frustrated by recent flooding

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BEANBLOSSOM, Ind. — Floodwaters rushed over a historic Brown County road a week ago, frustrating residents who said they feel as though their road has been forgotten.

Sheri Smith captured video as water overran a culvert next to her property on Covered Bridge Road, rushing down her driveway and into her home. Smith’s family has run Smith Melon Farm, which operates a local farm stand, for decades but she said this was the first time water ever made it into the house.

“We had 80 pound sand bags washing down into the yard,” Smith said.

Smith expressed frustration with the flooding, which she believed could have been prevented if the county highway department had heeded her and neighbors’ warnings over the past few years.

“All the way back to 2018 I’ve been calling every summer, multiple times. The last two years my phone calls don’t get returned, I leave voice messages,” Smith said.

At one point, Smith and her husband said they offered to pay for the culvert to be replaced, but the work was never done.

In addition, neighbors wanted to see the county resume digging a ditch on one side of the road that used to be maintained in order to divert water into the nearby creek.

“We would really like to see that culvert replaced and our road ditched out,” Smith said.

Down the street, Denny Smith, who is not related to Sheri, said he also could not get answers from the county. His newly grated driveway was partially washed away in the floodwaters.

“We’ve called them numerous times with no response back,” Smith said. “It’s very frustrating, you call to report a problem and nothing ever gets done.”

FOX59 reached out to the Brown County Highway Superintendent, who said via email that Smith’s recent issues were due to an unusually large amount of rain that caused widespread flooding, which his department could not prevent. Asked about maintenance of ditches, he said, “We are out cleaning ditches year around.  We can not prevent buildup of debris during a flash flood.”

Both families said they hoped to see their road be maintained in the future, especially since it leads to the historic Bean Blossom covered bridge.

“We’re a long-standing member of this community, we love our community, but we want to see what we can do to make sure that these roads are better taken care of,” Sheri Smith said.

If you have a flooding issue, you should try to speak with local officials first. You can also try contacting your county’s soil and water conservation district.

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