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'They don't care': Fort Atkinson man blames severe home flooding on DOT project

FORT ATKINSON, Wis. - Many homeowners in our area are dealing with flooding, but one family just outside of Fort Atkinson believes the Wisconsin Department of Transportation is entirely to blame for their situation. 

Doreen and Brain Marmes have lived in their home since 1991. They said they really didn't have any trouble with flooding until a DOT roads project in 2012 redirected water onto their property.

Following rain and melting snow, their home looks like it could have been built right on top of a lake. 

"I could put my boat in here," Brian Marmes said while looking at his flooded backyard Thursday. 

Marmes said his backyard never had any issues with flooding, even in 2008, when his region experienced heavy rainfall.

 

 

"We had the worst flood that Fort Atkinson ever had in 2008, and I had an old garage that had a couple inches of water in it," Marmes said. 

Fast forward to this week, and parts of his backyard and front yard is submerged in at least a foot of water. 
Marmes blames a 2012 DOT project.  He said the expansion of Highway 26 from two lanes to four increased runoff, and because of inadequate drainage, all the water drains right into his property. 

"Nothing is stopping it," Marmes said. "They just put culverts right into my land and said 'To hell with it.' Let it flood out." 

Marmes claims the DOT had visited the property and even admitted there was a problem, but fixed nothing. Marmes said he hired a lawyer but didn't persue further legal action calling it too expensive considering all of the  other things he’s had to pay for because of water damage. 

"I had to buy a new water heater, call a furnace man, an electrician, a plumber," he said. "I mean thousands of dollars."

Marmes said he contacted the DOT Wednesday and Thursday but nothing was done. 

"I think I talked to four different people. Two this morning. They all said they would get back to me. None of them did. They don't care," Marmes said. 

Michael Bie, a DOT spokesperson, sent News 3 Now a statement. Bie said the DOT hears the Marmes’ concerns. He blamed extreme weather for the flooding. 

The full statement is below:

"WisDOT staff has met with the property owners to hear their concerns and review the design of the highway, including the storm water system. The highway was designed and constructed to meet current standards for storm water management.  We have continually monitored the culverts in the area to ensure they are not clogged and working properly. Widespread flooding in the area has corresponded with extreme weather events."

 

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