MDOT: Piecemeal approach on roads key flood factor
Flooding closed parts of some Detroit-area expressways Tuesday evening, but conditions were back to normal by Wednesday.
The Associated Press
DETROIT — A piecemeal approach to maintaining and improving major roadways is a key factor in flooding that has shut parts of several Detroit-area freeways twice this month, according to state transportation officials.
Flooding closed parts of some Detroit-area expressways Tuesday evening, but conditions were back to normal by Wednesday. On Aug. 11, heavy rains swamped freeways, stranding motorists and disrupting several days of travel.
"We're always putting Band-Aids on what needs surgery," MDOT spokeswoman Diane Cross told The Detroit News (http://bit.ly/1q7C1ge ). "We are piecemeal keeping our roads together. This is an example of what happens with that."
A plan to boost fuel taxes to raise at least $1 billion to fix deteriorating roads and bridges stalled this year in the Michigan Legislature.
Cross said roads and supporting structures are aging, and soil, plants and road debris have blocked drains. MDOT said 58 percent of pumping stations used to clear water from freeways in Michigan are in poor condition.
"We just need to realize that the freeways themselves are old and they aren't designed to today's standards, which include more storm drains, bigger storm drains, sloping sides that don't allow soil and erosion into the roadway and drains," Cross said.
MDOT employees are assessing catch basin drains, pumps and road conditions, but don't have enough money to fix them after a harsh winter that put pressure on road budgets.
"You would think if the system is all screwed up, maybe there should have been some road funding from the state months ago," said Vaughn Derderian, co-owner of the downtown Anchor Bar.
Derderian was on his way to work Tuesday afternoon when traffic stopped at the interchange for Interstates 75 and 94.
"I was two cars behind the flood ... somebody's car was floating because they had tried to drive through it," he said.
Tuesday's storms brought 60 mile-per-hour wind gusts that knocked down trees and power lines in parts of southern Michigan, and about 174,000 utility customers lost power. Crews continued to work Thursday to fully restore electrical service.
Information from: The Detroit News, http://detnews.com/
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