PennDOT says litter played major role in flash flooding on Schuylkill Expressway

According to the National Weather Service, the Philadelphia area saw anywhere from a quarter-inch to more than an inch of rain Tuesday.



Tuesday’s rainfall caused flash floods across the Philadelphia region, especially on the Schuylkill Expressway.

According to the National Weather Service, the region saw anywhere from a quarter-inch to more than an inch of rainfall within a 24-hour period.

Flooding was reported on I-76 by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation just before 7 a.m. which led to lane restrictions shortly after. Images shared by 6abc showed drivers trying to make their way through the flooded eastbound lanes between Route 202 and Gulph Mills.

PennDOT said the flooding cleared up around 9 a.m.

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Deputy Communications Director Brad Rudolph says the infrastructure, mainly in the low-lying areas, became quickly encumbered by the rainwater.

“It was coming down too fast for our system, which is an aging system, not able to handle some of the storms that we see today and some of the pace of the rain is falling at,” Rudolph said. “Hurricane Ida last year was a good example. So a lot of times we’re just waiting for, you know, waters to recede, rivers to recede, rain to stop before we can see any improvements.”

Rudolph also said litter played a major role in rainwater not being able to drain effectively.

“We spend $5 to $6 million on cleaning up litter [each year], which could go to, you know, resurfacing highways and fixing our roads and bridges,” Rudolph said. “The problem is the littering. We can clean it up, but a day later, it’s back to being, you know, litter on the sides of the road.”

Litter played a role in the increased flooding when Hurricane Ida hit Philadelphia back in 2021.

Infrastructure wise, PennDOT plans to start construction to address issues on the I-76 Corridor in the next couple of years.

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