PHOENIX (August 9, 2017) – Storms over the past few years have created major roadway flooding incidents throughout the Valley. More than half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous floodwater. The Flood Control District (FCD) of Maricopa County and the Maricopa County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) have joined forces to mitigate some of these issues by installing Automated Flooded Roadway Warning Assemblies at low-flow crossings. When the road is flooded, the warning lights flash and alert approaching drivers to avoid the area.
FCD and MCDOT researched average traffic counts, waterflow and other data at numerous county wash crossings to prioritize which would benefit from flood warning assemblies. Flood warning assemblies were placed on Patton Road at Hassayampa River, Salome Highway at Delaney Wash, Bartlett Lake Road at Camp Creek Wash and Old Stage Road at New River. The departments plan to place additional flood warning assemblies over the next several years.
“The installation of Automated Flooded Roadway Warning Assemblies will be an earlier visual alert system for Valley drivers as they approach flooded areas during storms, helping to prevent needless deaths and reduce the number of flow channel water rescues our emergency responders conduct,” said Supervisor Bill Gates, District 3.
The Flood Control ALERT data triggers flashing lights which serve as a first-response warning for approaching vehicles during storms. They help keep people safe until MCDOT crews are able to arrive and barricade the flooded roadway.
“Safety on our roadways is a top priority at MCDOT,” said Jennifer Toth, MCDOT Director and County Engineer. “This partnership with the Flood Control District allows us to work together to provide drivers with the real-time roadway condition information they need to ensure everyone arrives safely.”
The assemblies are constructed by MCDOT and use Flood Control ALERT technology to activate. The ALERT system uses rainfall amounts and streamflow data to initiate the flasher and also alerts MCDOT crews on when to respond.
“Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles, including SUVs and pickups,” explained Bill Wiley, FCD Chief Engineer and General Manager. “Flash floods are dangerous. We want drivers to be flood smart and stay away when they see those lights flash.”
For more information on how to be flood smart on County roads, visit FCD.Maricopa.gov and Maricopa.gov/MCDOT.