MAYNARDVILLE (WATE) – The Highway 33 bridge was closed in Union County for about an hour Wednesday evening because nearly four inches of rain fell in a short period of time.
All of that water had one place to go and that was down the hill. It caused extreme flooding over the roadway, making it almost impossible to pass. The Tennessee Department of Transportation had to close the road for over an hour, but the problem went deeper than just the amount of water.
“The rain day before, some of the dirt on the bridge clogged some of those drains before we were able to get them all unclogged, and with a huge volume of rain like that, 3.9 inches, it just really can’t handle that,” said inspector Steve Kirsch.
Once the water receded, crews were able to unclog the drainage system so this won’t happen again.
“We cleared out all the drains on the bridge anticipating rain and hopefully we won’t have that issue anymore,” said inspector Steve Kirsch.
A new bridge is already under construction and once it opens, flash flooding should not be an issue.
“The way the new bridge is, you have your deck drains on the side which should allow the water to roll off. Plus, you have big shoulders on that bridge, 10 foot shoulders on either side the travel lane, which should help as well. And you won’t need the PVC drains anymore and it should drain properly,” said inspector Steve Kirsch.
Additional rainfall is in the forecast this weekend. So, low lying areas like this bridge, could be prone to flash flooding. Remember to turn around, don’t drown.