Flooding a concern on US 62

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By Randy Patrick

Tracy Isaacs of Bloomfield was unable to cross the stream that flowed over U.S. 62 Sunday afternoon as a result of a downpour.

“She saw a car in front of her go through the high water, and it moved the car from one side of the road to the other,” her husband, Mark Isaacs, said.

He said it’s the “15th or 20th time in the last four or five years” that she’s been unable to get to work in Lebanon because of the flooding of that road.

“It’s a small area that floods all the time, but it’s enough to keep people from getting through there,” he mentioned.

Last November, three women were rescued by firefighters from three vehicles in the same area after a heavy rainfall.

The state Department of Highways has been working on the “S-curve” on U.S. 62 near Bloomfield, which runs alongside a creek that gets over the road, and the project is substantially complete, but the road still floods.

“Whatever they’ve done hasn’t worked” to control the flooding, Isaacs said.

That’s because it was never meant to, said Chris Jessie, a spokesman for the department’s District 4 office in Elizabethtown.

The $1.3 million project started in August and was supposed to have been finished May 15, but has been delayed because the wet weather made for less-than-ideal construction conditions, was a highway safety improvement project, not a flood control project. It was intended to straighten out the curve, where there had been many accidents, some of them a result of water runoff. But the construction actually made the flooding problem worse while it was being done, Jessie said, and the contractor did some work to try to mitigate that, by pumping water out.

It’s a low-lying section of roadway, and it isn’t possible to elevate the grade with the money the state has available, Jessie said.

Sheriff Ramon Pineiroa said Monday the state needed to raise the road a little or “widen the creek or something.”

Jessie said the ground is soft there along the creek.

“There’s nothing really good to build a road on without putting in a bridge,” he said.

That’s one remedy Isaacs suggested.

But now we’re talking about really big money, Jessie said.

The district serves 11 counties, all of which have needs, he said.

“We’ve got to find the balance between what we can do and the funding we have,” Jessie said.

There are no plans for a flood-control project in the area, he said.