Local News

DOT Hopes Pre-Storm Cleaning Prevents Post-Storm Flooding

Posted September 16, 2003

— Road crews tried to get out in front of Hurricane Isabel when the

Department of Transportation

and local crews hustled Tuesday to clear debris from storm drains all over eastern North Carolina.

They hope the effort prevents big floods.

Too much rain and clogged drains make a bad combination. Everywhere water needs to flow -- culverts, street grates and storm drains -- could be a flood zone if debris is in the way.

"We've learned from past experience to plan for the worst," Street Superintendent Elwood Davis said. "You can adjust down. It is harder to adjust up.

"We are going to be ready for it to pass right over here. If it doesn't, that is great. If it does, we'll deal with it and go to work."

The city has 600 culverts to check out before the storm hits. A DOT crew cleaned one out Tuesday after neighbors requested the work be done.

"We had noticed that whenever there was a heavy rainfall, this ditch got backed up quite a bit because there had been refuse deposited there from other hurricanes as well, Fran and Floyd," homeowner David Johnston said of the culvert running beside his house. "So we called the city."

A June 29 thunderstorm flooded Johnston's backyard and filled up the debris-covered culvert. Remnants of a hurricane could cause much more damage.

That is why crews were not taking any chances Tuesday.

"We've just got to be ready, and we'll deal with whatever comes," Davis said.


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