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Flooding impacts Globeville neighborhood along I-70

The rain last weekend didn't only impact the highway, but neighborhoods that run along it as well.

DENVER — When I-70 saw torrential downpours in Denver, it led to flooding -- and in some cases, rescues. 

But the neighborhoods alongside the major corridor also suffered some flooding as well -- including Globeville. 

"Floating, bobbing cars and water...muddy water everywhere...floating railroad ties going by," Gayle LeRoux recalled. 

It's a sight LeRoux says she's used to. 

As a resident of more than 25 years in the neighborhood, she's also vice president of the small community group "Globeville First," which essentially helps advocate for solving issues facing the neighborhood. 

The recent flood event resurfaced concerns that neighbors have moving forward.

Credit: Photo courtesy of Gayle LeRoux
Flooding occurring in the Globeville neighborhood off of I-70 on Sunday, August 7.

"We're just used to cleaning up after these storms"

While drivers fought through the high waters on the highway, some residents in LeRoux's neighborhood were hoping their cars would even survive the flood. 

In LeRoux's case, she says one of her vehicles isn't starting currently, and worries it could be a total loss. 

Additionally, her basement took on water. 

"So insurance is a big issue here. Most homeowner's insurance do not cover flood damage. And unfortunately, many of us did not realize that, you know, when we're purchasing the insurance. So, you know, many of us are having to pay for these costs out of our pocket," LeRoux said.

Down the street, Amanda Morian's cellar also took on water, but the same sight of water coming up to her front yard was also present. 

"Like everyone else, it was surprising because it was just a deluge," she said. "And then when the rain stopped, I came to the front yard and was just shocked to see the depth of the water, cars that were stuck."

But LeRoux says this isn't the first instance where flooding like this has happened. 

"So we're just used to cleaning up after these storms, cleaning our own basements, cleaning our cellars. And this is not something that we should be used to doing," she said. 

Both LeRoux and Morian share similar concerns about how construction crews are handling the sewer systems ahead of intense rainfall. 

Credit: Luis de Leon
Gayle LeRoux (left), stands with Amanda Morian (right) in the Globeville neighborhood.

Concerns at the surface

When Monday morning came and the waters receded, LeRoux stepped out of her home and says she saw several of the sewers had been covered with sandbags, covered in what appear to be mud. 

She believed the sandbags came from construction crews that were doing work in the neighborhood, and worried how the sandbags could impact flooding in the neighborhood. 

Councilmember Candi CdeBaca, whose district covers Globeville, posted on Facebook about the sandbags as well. 

A spokesperson for Denver Water told 9NEWS via email that contractors did place some sandbags in the area as part of their recent work replacing lead service lines in the neighborhood. 

"However, the sandbags associated with that work had all been removed prior to the rain event last week," the spokesperson wrote. 

It is not clear if the sandbags removed were the ones of concern. It's also still unclear if any sandbags in general impacted Globeville during that particular rain event. 

A spokesperson for Denver's Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI) explained that generally speaking, sandbags are placed for temporary erosion control measures, and look to limit the impact of construction projects on storm water systems that drain to sensitive waterways. 

"With construction projects occurring all over the metro area, it is difficult to predict exactly where and when a high intensity storm will occur and act within enough time to remove erosion control measures," a spokesperson for DOTI wrote.  "We also must consider employee safety and follow standard operating procedures in and around storm inlets and drains during heavy precipitation."

Credit: Photo courtesy of Gayle LeRoux
An image of a sandbag covering a drainage sewer in the Globeville neighborhood.

The department added that they strongly discourage residents from interfering within active construction sites, "especially during extreme weather events."

A spokesperson says the city encourages residents to be aware of flood risks, and that they work with property owners to share resources on how they can protect their homes, including here.

Residents can also call 311 or (720) 913-1311 to report a specific problem.

Meanwhile, a statement from Councilmember CdeBaca said the city "failed" Globeville residents. 

"From misguided and failed flood mitigation projects to a lack of due diligence in coordinating and holding construction companies accountable for the neverending street closures, clean ups, and reroutes," the statement read in part. "...the flooding this weekend has shown us how dangerous that negligence can be, causing extreme property damage and near loss of life."

Credit: Luis de Leon
Lincoln Street in the Globeville Neighborhood.

Advocacy moving forward

In general, LeRoux hopes there's more transparency about the construction projects happening in the area. 

"I think historically when projects are going on here, residents are not that aware of what's happening. But there's so many projects going on that we don't know what project is what," she said, adding that she hopes more resources are put into the Globeville neighborhood to prevent flood damage. "We live in the city of Denver. There's so many resources and this is just not an extra burden that we should have to deal with."

For Morian, she acknowledges that any system could have the potential to be overwhelmed with the rainfall seen Sunday, but hopes more transparency resources are also in the future of the neighborhood.

"So having resources from the city, as far as not just cleaning our storm drains and keeping them functional, but providing trees and other resources that can manage these storms would be helpful, too," she said.

RELATED: Businesses along I-70 in Denver work to adapt to construction

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