Roads clearing after Monday morning floods in Philly area

Some drivers were stuck for hours.

Kim Glovas
June 11, 2018 - 6:26 am
rain
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Updated 11:30 a.m.

CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — All the rain that fell through Sunday night and Monday morning rush hour led to flooding on I-76 eastbound around the area of the Conshohocken Curve. With water rising, cars got stuck and there were accidents. That backed things up big time.

The Schuylkill Expressway was closed eastbound between the Blue Route and Gladwyne for hours. PennDOT was able to open one eastbound lane around 9:45 a.m.

“A lot of rain brought down a lot of debris and a lot of water," said PennDOT’s Brad Rudolph.

That debris clogged up the drains and caused the flooding on the eastbound lanes. But since the road is carved into a hillside, and the eastbound lanes are up against what is essentially a cliff, Rudolph says their only option was to pump the water across the westbound lanes.

“We had a pipe that could get across the lanes," he said. "We didn’t have one long enough to get to another inlet, so our best option was to get across the roadway in that direction.”

It’s about five miles between interchanges in that stretch with a concrete divider, so there was no easy way to get cars off the road. In addition to clearing the drains, Rudolph says crews also had their hands full cleaning mud and muck off of the road.

He says this is all part of ongoing projects along the expressway to shore up rocks and vegetation to keep them from washing onto the road and clogging up the drains.

Drivers like Shawn Grady were stuck for quite some time.

"Three-and-a-half hour wait was ahead," Grady said. "We went to sleep for a little bit. A couple naps in between. A lot of confusion between PennDOT and the drivers, but we were eventually able to sort it out and get back on the road."

Grady and other drivers, with the help of police, were able to turn around on the highway. 

And to make matters more stressful for Grady, his gas tank was nearly drained and he needed to fill up as soon as he could after being stuck on the Schuylkill for hours.

On I-95, flooding near the Betsy Ross Bridge and Bridge Street area was cleared earlier in the morning. U.S. Route 422 eastbound in Pottstown was temporarily closed for a downed tree. And many roads in Mount Holly were closed because of flooding. SEPTA warned commuters to be careful on platforms and stairs because of slippery conditions from the rain.

A sinkhole that opened up on Levitt Parkway between Echo and East River roads is still giving some trouble in Willingboro.

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KYW Newsradio's Tim Jimenez and Jim Melwert contributed to this report.