State says measures to prevent massive Darby-like flooding are working

Local News

The state has found a solution to help prevent flooding on the freeways.

Last year, during Tropical Storm Darby, the H-1 Freeway near Liliha Street turned into a lake, and some vehicles got stuck.

Now the state Department of Transportation says it’s installed some preventative measures so that doesn’t happen again during heavy rain. Some of those measures should also help prevent other problem areas along the freeways.

The DOT says the drains on the freeway and on the street above did not work properly during the night of the storm. Mud and debris came down from the slope and clogged the freeway drains, causing the flooding.

On School Street, roots damaged the curb which forced water away from the drains. The state took down the trees to solve that problem, and also put a concrete finish on the slope above the freeway so dirt and debris won’t come down and clog the drains below.

The state says the remedies have held up pretty well so far. While there hasn’t been a storm like Darby since, there were no problems from the downpours earlier this month. Five inches of rain fell within a seven-hour period.

“In the last three years when we had storm events, we would have to spend about half a day or so with a crew of five to clean up the highway from the debris that came down from the storms. In this last event on the 12th, there was no work that we had to do,” said Ed Sniffen with the Department of Transportation.

Sniffen says the repairs cost $200,000. The state plans to apply similar methods if other parts of the freeway get flooded for the same reasons.

Out of all those flooded vehicles, the state says only one owner filed a claim for damage of about $8,000.

But the state Department of Accounting and General Services denied the claim, ruling that the state was not negligent.

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