2 NEWS Investigates: How did the interstate flood?

Flood waters cover the Miami Valley. (WDTN Photo)
Flood waters cover the Miami Valley. (WDTN Photo)

MONTGOMERY CO., Ohio (WDTN) – The biggest impact of the flooding was our two major Interstates shut down.

We’re asking how it happened.

We took concerns from frustrated drivers trapped on Interstates 70 and 75 straight to the Montgomery County District Transportation Administrator at ODOT, Bob Lanser.

He didn’t expect this type of flooding on our interstates and said the deepest point was nearly five feet.

We asked how that’s possible.

Interstates are designed by some of the nation’s top engineers but last night their work was no match for Mother Nature.

Natalie: “How does this happen?”

Bob Lanser: “Too much rainfall in a short period of time.”

Parts of two main highways in the Miami Valley were overtaken with flood water in a matter of minutes.

There was so much water that Interstate 75 had to be closed between State Route 55 and State Route 571 in Miami County.

It was also closed near State Route 41.

Interstate 70 near Huber Heights was also closed between State Route 201 and State Route 235.

“I’ve never experienced anything like this on interstate 75 or 70 in Montgomery so this was something that was unexpected. We didn’t anticipate water coming over the barrier wall. That’s not something that happens on a regular basis,” said Lanser.

So we asked how it could happen.

Lanser said their engineers design roads to avoid flooding by installing storm drains and culverts that move water *under the road.

His office is in charge of this part of 1-70.

“All the drainage on the highway was working as it’s intended to. Within the last 30 days we’ve been out there and performed maintenance operations where we clean the entire barrier wall.”

Lanser said water can cause a tremendous amount of damage to roads so they’re monitoring this area. So far, he says it looks fine.

He also said a team of engineers will be looking at how it flooded, but he’s not expecting any big answers.

Natalie: “Can anything be done to prevent this kind of thing from happening in the future?”

Bob Lanser: “I think this was a historic rainfall event with a tremendous amount of rain in a very short period of time and I think Mother Nature dealt us a tough blow yesterday and I’m not sure there was anything that we could have done to prepare for this any better.”

Lanser said they responded to 1-70 very quickly to help divert traffic last night.

He said that’s because they had more staff than usual because their crews were already working doing road repairs.


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