DOTD replacing pumps after heavy flooding on I-110 Tuesday
BATON ROUGE - Following an afternoon of heavy rain, DOTD crews were working to clear drains across the city. Officials say there was so much water in a short amount of time that there was nowhere for the water to go.
“You saw local streets flood. You saw parish roads flood, as well as the interstate in this case, because creeks where those pumps move those waters to were flooded as well,” said Shawn Wilson, secretary of transportation. “If the creek itself is flooded there's nowhere for the water to go except back on the highway."
According to DOTD, Ward's Creek rose 11 feet in just one hour, and other areas saw similar rapidly rising water levels.
Crews are replacing three pumps in the area near I-110, which will hopefully improve efficiency during heavy rain. With hurricane season ramping up, the first major storm will be a critical test for the infrastructure.
Wilson says the flooding is not due to the pumps not working, rather it's because they're being overworked.
“A flash flood can occur not just with a hurricane, but with any event,” said Wilson. “Those pumps are designed to move a certain amount of water in a certain amount of time. Typically, in most cases, you don't have all of your creeks fill up with water, because then I don't have anywhere to move the water to."
While it is typical for the state to clean drains following such an event, Wilson says with a limited amount of money and equipment, DOTD is restricted in how many drains can be cleaned and how many pumps can be replaced at any given time.
“All of these services costs... These are not things the federal government is going to reimburse us for. So we have options to make, and we do the best we can,” Wilson said.