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Flooding Causes Traffic Nightmare On I-76 That Lasts For Hours

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Heavy downpours overnight caused big flooding concerns in parts of our area Monday morning.

I-76 Eastbound was closed between I-476 and Belmont Avenue due to heavy flooding. The road was closed during the rush hour and reopened just before 10 a.m.

The flooding left several drivers stuck on I-76 for several hours.

Driver Matthew Christopher, who was stopped near Belmont Avenue- heading towards Philadelphia, tells Eyewitness News he had been sitting in his car since midnight. He says the rising water took him by surprise.

"I knew better than to drive into large pools of water but by the way traffic is moving and by the time you're like there, you're already in it," said Christopher.

PennDOT spokesperson Brad Rudolph says this flooding was more difficult to deal with than other flooding events and that's because not only did the intake grates get covered with debris and mud from the rain, but the actual pipe which normally drains the water became clogged as well.

"Typically, nine out of 10 times it's inlets that are clogged, and we'll go in there and we'll clear the inlets, any loose debris or material, and that will solve the problem," said Rudolph.

Rudolph says crews had to pump water from the eastbound lanes to the westbound side to clear the road and figure out what was wrong. That pipe is still clogged and PennDOT is working to clear it as traffic begins to return to normal.

All lanes reopened around 10 a.m. By the afternoon, the shoulders were still caked in brown mud, but traffic was finally moving through.

"Even the pipe flushing probably should not affect any travel lanes, at least today," said Rudolph. "If anything was going to be done, it'll be done overnight and not during an peak travel times."

In Cherry Hill, several inches of water covered Route 38 overnight. It created a domino effect, where at least four cars got stuck.

Cherry Hill police shut down the road in both directions, as crews removed debris from the road and tow trucks removed the cars.

One driver said she was stuck for almost five hours, before her daughter was able to get through to pick her up.

Route 38 has since been cleared.

Doppler radar and automated rain gauges indicated two to four inches of rain fell across the area last night. Although rain is coming to an end, flooding continues for several parts of our area.

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