Severe flooding traps 100’s of motorists in parts of Ohio, USA
Flooded interstates caused hundreds of drivers to be trapped in their cars on I-75 and I-70 Wednesday. Motorists were without food, water and restroom facilities for hours. The flooded interstates kept emergency crews busy.
By 12:30 a.m., traffic on the interstates was flowing again as the roads were reopened.
Flood waters covered all lanes of I-70 near State Route 201 (Brandt Pike) in Huber Heights. Ohio Department of Transportation traffic cameras showed frustrated drivers began making u-turns and driving in the wrong direction on the interstate to exit and find another route. Other motorists could be seen exiting their cars and walking on the interstate. State Route 4 southbound became an escape route for some drivers.
Huber Heights Battalion Chief Keith Knisley said a swollen creek caused the flooding on the interstate. He said it was over a retaining wall that is over 4 feet high. Knisley said emergency crews were concentrating on rescuing people trapped in high water who were at risk of being swept away. Drivers who were trapped but safe on I-70 were a secondary priority. After several hours, authorities did devise a plan to help motorists exit the interstate.
The situation was similar in Miami County on Interstate 75 between Tipp City and Piqua. High water and disabled vehicles made the interstate impassable in the north and southbound lanes near State Route 36 and Farrington where the Great Miami River runs near the interstate. Traffic was also at a standstill on both sides of I-75 just north of Tipp city. Again, traffic cameras showed a long line of vehicles unable to move for hours.
Diana Roepcke, a trucker for Cordell, remained mired in the standstill on !-75 north, just above State Route 41. She’s headed to Canada and is supposed to be there by 3 a.m. Thursday.
“Drivers are just pulled over and sleeping,” the Fairborn resident said. “I gotta keep moving forward.”
Just after 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, Ohio Department of Transportation crews used snow plows to push water and debris out of the way to allow cars to move again on I-75.
News Center 7’s John Bedell reports that traffic on southbound I-75 began flowing at about 10:30 p.m. and traffic is being diverted off the interstate at County Road 25A (exit 78).
The water will take several hours to recede according to Storm Center 7 Chief Meteorologist Jamie Simpson. He said no more rain is expected to fall after Wednesday’s storms.
In Clark County, at height of flooding, county Engineer Johnathan Burr said water was 2-1/2 feet deep across Ridgewood Road east.
“I could see the very tip top of a fire hydrant. People were driving around our county vehicles that were blocking the roadway, even when we had our lights. on.”
At 9:30 p.m., Burr said water has since receded, as has the high water in the Northridge area that left several people stranded atop their vehicles. There are several sections of Upper Valley Pike, north of Tremont City Road, because of high water.
The 3100 block of Dayton Road remains shut down because of high water, he said Wednesday night. Those spots are closed to the Champaign County line, Burr said.
The county has two crews out checking road conditions and assessing any high water hazards. Crews also are sweeping debris off roadways, debris that was carried onto the roads by the water.
“The rain just came down so fast and so hard, the roads were overwhelmed,” Burr said.