Businesses were open again on Monday after Route 44 was shut down for more than four days last week
Attorney Craig Martin has trash in his Taunton office parking lot and water in the basement, but he opened for business as usual on Monday.
When the Taunton River spilled over and shut down Route 44 for more than four days last week, Martin was forced to meet with clients at their homes.
“This is ground zero, right here,” said Martin, as crews hauled water-logged furniture and a photocopier out of his basement.
Martin could get hit with more water over the next day or two. The current storm is expected to drop 2.5 inches of water onto Taunton before it stops Wednesday morning.
The stretch of highway that runs past Martin’s office at 109 Dean St. was closed for cleanup from last Tuesday afternoon to Saturday morning. The March 13-15 storm poured 6.1 inches of rain on the area and flooded the river, dumping 3 feet of water onto the banks.
“We were shut down, out of business for three days,” said Attorney P. Burke Fountain, whose office is next door at 111 Dean St. “Everybody here lost business.” Vinny Flynn, a car buyer at Borges Auto Center at 157 Dean St., said one buyer had arranged to meet customers down the street at Benny’s when the road was closed.
Martin’s receptionist, Robyn Martin, said she was able to get to work by parking across the street. But no clients were allowed to drive onto the road.
“We were like a little island here,” said Martin, adding that she saw two ducks in the middle of the road on Friday.
Business owners weren’t the only ones who were relieved when Route 44 reopened.
An estimated 26,000 cars per day had to be re-routed through area neighborhoods, according to Taunton Emergency Management Agency director Richard E. Ferreira.
Joyce Rodrigue, director of the Raynham Senior Center, said it took her 10 minutes to exit the senior center’s driveway when traffic was redirected past the center on King Philip Street.
“You don’t realize how much traffic goes down Route 44 until it goes by your house,” she said.
In Middleboro, the Woloski Park neighborhood is still closed off after the Taunton River and Purchade Brook spilled water into seven homes. Fire Chief Lance Benjamino said six homes are still without power, and the road remains closed.
Officials attribute the flooding to the frozen ground and the record-breaking amount of rainfall.
“We had an exceptional storm at a very unusual time when there was a lot of frozen ground underneath and the ground couldn’t absorb the water,” said Carolyn LaMarre, director of the Taunton River Watershed Alliance.
Representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency were in town to visit Woloski Park on Friday. FEMA also paid a visit Monday to Craig Martin’s law office and other businesses along Route 44 in Taunton.
Enterprise writer Amy Littlefield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.