DALLAS (CBSFDW.COM) - It began as a morning traffic migraine. Cars and trucks were backed up for miles when Loop 12 flooded Friday morning underneath Interstate 30, just west of downtown Dallas. But, state highway officials now warn commuters that the traffic headache could continue for several days.
"They didn't believe me at first," says Tamika Baker of her disbelieving job. Then adding with a laugh: "I think they believe me now!"
Baker was one of hundreds of commuters caught in the rising floodwater on Loop 12. "When I told them the highway was completely blocked off, they were like, yeah, right."
After hours of pouring rain, drivers told CBS 11 News that the low lying highway held as much as 5' of standing water.
"I feel like I'm in Louisiana whenever a hurricane came through," says Marilyn Hart, "it's the first time I've ever seen it like this!"
In spite of the warnings about the dangers of high water, some drivers forged ahead—others soon regretted it—as their vehicles stalled. Traffic was backed up for miles.
"I thought it was like a car wreck," says Jessie Delgado, "and then I got out of my car and saw the flood, I was like 'whoa'-- we're not going anywhere around here! There's no place to go. It's like that movie when the world stopped—there's nothing you can do about it.
With all lanes of traffic at a standstill on both sides of the highway, eventually, a crane was brought in to remove concrete highway barriers. Stranded drivers could be heard cheering. And finally, some six hours later—drivers were finally allowed to escape.
Pumps are being brought in to clear the standing water. But, based on the last time the roadway flooded 25 years ago, TxDot officials are already warning commuters.
"It took several days for the water to recede," says Tony Hartzel, "so we're asking for the public's patience in planning ahead and to find alternate ways around this area."
Tamika Baker was just glad to find her way off the flooded highway… yelling, "I guess I'll just enjoy the rest of the day off!" as she finally drove away.
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