Road crews are working to deal with the aftermath of recent severe storms. Flooding has caused major problems to roads, bridges, and drainage systems. Leftover ice storm debris doesn't help matters either. News On 6 anchor Craig Day reports that combination is prompting road crews in one part of Tulsa County to adjust their strategy.
For months, road crews in southern Tulsa County have worked to clear ice storm debris. Heavy rain over the past couple of weeks has slowed that work down, as they were forced to do repair work to culverts along county roads.
District Three Superintendent Mark Liotta says high water really had nowhere to go but over roads. Crews replaced 15 culverts that washed out.
"Resetting driveways, clearing channels, clearing out ditches, repairing roads that have been washed out," said Liotta.
Liotta has decided over the next year, his crews will concentrate less on paving roads and more on improving the drainage system. Potholes will still be filled, but he says poor drainage is what causes a lot of the problems to begin with.
"It really doesn't make a lot of sense to put down new asphalt if you don't have a good system to get the water away from the road. You're just throwing good money after bad," said Liotta.
Over the past year, crews in southern Tulsa County identified some of the worst country roads that need the most attention. With those paving projects to take care of, crews can switch more of their attention to drainage projects.
Workers will open up ditches and level off high places that impede the flow of water.
"It will get under the asphalt surface and before you know it you've got potholes and the next thing you know, you have the road washed away," said Pete Gonzales, Maintenance Foreman.
It is hoped the work will pay off in the long run, with less water on roads, less damage caused when the next storm hits and a more effective use of taxpayer money.
A big part of the problem is that creeks and ditches are clogged with ice storm debris. Work to clear that debris will also continue over the next two months.