Posted at: 09/13/2013 7:17 PM
| Updated at: 09/13/2013 7:57 PM
By: Steve Flamisch
ALBANY -- The underground drainage system beneath two of the Capital Region's busiest and most flood-prone roadways cannot always handle the sudden surge of water caused by a heavy downpour, a state Department of Transportation spokesman said Friday.
A section of Western Avenue outside Stuyvesant Plaza in Guilderland and a stretch of Central Avenue near the border of Albany and Colonie most recently flooded during the storms that soaked parts of the Capital Region on Thursday.
"The water travels from great distances in both of those locations... over many different properties, both private and public," DOT spokesman Bryan Viggiani told NewsChannel 13. "It's going from higher to lower (ground), and those two roads are in the middle of that path basically."
DOT routinely checks the storm drains for sediment build-up -- sometimes going underground to take a closer look -- but beyond routine maintenance, there are currently no plans to overhaul or study the system, Viggiani said.
"It's really kind of looking at what we can do for our system, and hopefully what other property owners can look at with their systems, as well," he said.
"WE LOSE BUSINESS"
The flooding Thursday on Central Ave. stranded a car under the railroad bridge, and the detour hurt business at nearby Little Anthony's Pizza, the shop's general manager said.
That section of the road floods every few months, Ron Dibble said.
"Every time it rains very heavily, it floods underneath (the bridge) and the police have to block it off," Dibble said. "Everybody's coming down Central, sees it's all blocked off, so they have to re-route. We lose business."
Central Ave. on the Colonie side of the border is under the DOT's jurisdiction, while the Albany side is the city's responsibility.
The city has repeatedly promised to install bigger drainage pipes and re-pave the road in a way that averts pooling, Dibble said.
"It has not been fixed since I've been here, 20 years," he said, noting that Thursday's flooding was among the worst he had ever seen.
A spokesman for Mayor Jerry Jennings referred a NewsChannel 13 inquiry to the city's Department of Public Works, but no one returned phone calls.
"YOU'D BE FLOATING"
The flooding Thursday outside Stuyvesant Plaza in Guilderland forced some drivers to take a lengthy detour.
Lauren Sylvester, of Stillwater, said her usual 40-minute commute became an hour-and-a-half excursion to avoid the vast pond of water.
"If you had a rowboat, you'd be floating," Sylvester said. "It was probably, I'd say, three feet if not more deep. And it filled, I'd say, about a quarter of a mile of road."
Viggiani, the DOT spokesman, acknowledged the frustration of business owners, homeowners, and motorists.
"Those drainage systems are built to handle the runoff from the roads, not so much the runoff from everywhere else," he said, "but that's in effect what's happening."