Heavy rains impact roads

Local News

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Tuesday morning’s showers were seen and felt across the panhandle.

Here in Bay County, many roads were flooded from the heavy rainfall.

While it’s not the sole reason, clogged stormwater drains throughout the area caused some of the high waters.

Bay County Public Works Director Keith Bryant says all 28 of their stormwater basins east of the Hathaway Bridge were completely clogged after Hurricane Michael.

As quickly as they could, officials got to work to get them cleared out.

“We started off with the major trunk line of the system so 150 miles of big ditches had to be cleaned so we got out there with an in-house crew and with contractors, the big FEMA contractors and we got those clean,” Bryant said.

All of the main lines are clean and now it’s on to smaller scale lines.

“Now we’re working on the smaller systems, the side systems. We’re doing a lot of that inhouse with Bay County employees. We had to purchase some equipment to do this. We’re also going to issue contracts to clean some of the culverts out also so we did receive a grant from the state for that and we’re working that right now.”

Bryant says the main areas they still need to hit are in the northern part of the county.

“The small side systems that run through the northern portion of the county and the culvert systems. We still need to get all of the culverts. The culverts were damaged by the heavy trucks that were on the roadway after the storm so it’s not just cleaning out the piping system but it’s also repairing a lot of it,” Bryant said.

While the county officials are not responsible for every stormwater system in the county, they know the effects and want to get their part back to standard.

So far, 1.5 million cubic yards of debris have been cleared out of the drains.

Each city also has its own stormwater systems they are responsible for cleaning.

Florida Highway Patrol officials also say the bad weather days are busier for them.

Public affairs officer, Lieutenant Robert Cannon says roads are the slickest within the first 15 minutes of rain and keeping your windshield wipers to standard is vital for safety.

“Just slow down, reduce your speed because every time you increase your speed, it doubles the amount of distance that you need to stop,” Cannon said.

He also says one rule to live by is ‘wipers on, lights on’ to ensure others see you and your own visibility is as clear as it needs to be.

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