Clogged storm drains caused flooding and many accidents along Schuylkill Expressway

Tuesday morning's heavy rain came in quickly, causing delays for commuters across the Delaware Valley, especially those stuck in floods along the Schuylkill Expressway. Delays along I-76 were so bad that many commuters are questioning why PennDOT wasn't prepared. 

"It was horrendous this morning it was pouring down so bad I could barely see," said Patti Warren, who commutes from King of Prussia from Delaware daily. "All I could think was ‘just let me make it in.’"

Veteran commuters of the Schuylkill are familiar with traffic and poor roadway conditions during storms, but flooding between King of Prussia and Gulph Mills began just before 7:30 a.m. as debris clogged storm drains and could be seen alongside the right shoulder.

"There was this portion where it normally takes us 5 minutes, but it took us like 26 minutes to get through," said Nathan Vucovich, who commutes from King of Prussia to Philadelphia.  

RELATED: Flooding across the Delaware Valley: Delays, traffic and warnings as storms roll in Tuesday

FOX 29's Kelly Rule spoke with Deputy Communications Director of PennDOT, Brad Rudolph, who says the roadway's drains were clear prior to the dry holiday weekend. Rudolph says PennDOT spends $6 million a year on litter, so there's a constant battle to make sure roads are clear. 

"Even in pristine conditions for our inlets we’ll see flooding. There’s only so much for the water to go. In this particular case, yeah, there probably were some drainage situations that were not cleared," said Rudolph. 


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The relentless downpours made for a messy commute in South Jersey, too, and water even rose quickly on South Franklin Street in West Chester. PennDOT says they will be taking a closer look at the section between 202 and Gulph Mills, but a lack of manpower affects how much work can get done in certain counties. 

"Throwing more money at it is not going to necessarily solve things," said Rudolph. "We can clean an area up and within a day or so, there’s litter back on the highway. We can’t go back there all the time."

An obvious thing that drivers can do to keep drains clear is no littering. The $6 million that gets spent on clean-up could go towards something more, like repaving the road and keeping up on maintenance.