- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 8, 2006

Transportation officials say that recent flooding from torrential rainstorms caused less structural damage to roads in the region than expected, but the long-term results remain unknown.

“We do have some erosion issues on Broad Branch Road, 27th Street and Belmont Road in Northwest, and crews are working on restoring those three spots [but] we have not been finding any widespread pothole damage,” said Erik Linden, a spokesman for the D.C. Department of Transportation.

Mr. Linden saidthe effects of the late-June storms were manageable because mild weather so far this year has, in part, helped crews keep on top of road maintenance.

So far this fiscal year, which began in October, the city transportation department has received 3,698 requests for street repair, compared to 6,367 in fiscal 2005 and 6,562 in fiscal 2004.

Mr. Linden said the department’s aggressive approach to fixing potholes also helped the roads survive the recent storms.

The department uses four Pro-Patch trucks, which cost about $100,000 each and are built specially for quick and permanent pothole repair.

“We hit the streets hard this spring with preventative maintenance, so we avoided wholesale deterioration of the surface,” Mr. Linden said.

The storm system, which dropped record amounts of rain on some areas, was responsible for at least six deaths in the region and prompted large-scale evacuations throughout the Northeast.

Torrential downpoursearly last weekalsocaused flash floods, felled numerous large trees and knocked out power to tens of thousands homes and businesses.

President Bush declared parts of Maryland major disaster areas.

Kellie Boulware, spokeswoman for Maryland’s State Highway Administration, said $2.5 million to $3 million has been spent by the agency on storm response, which includes overtime pay and extra personnel.

Most of the affected roads and highways are back to normal and were generally sound before the storms because of the mild winter, she said.

However, so much rain fell at once that erosion may be a future concern.

“It’s probably too early to gauge the full effect of the storms,” Miss Boulware said. “The rains may have [undone] the warm winter somewhat, but it’s pretty much a wait-and-see thing right now.”

Ryan Hall, spokesman for the Virginia Department of Transportation, said much of the damage was minor and that most of the repairs have been completed.

“Potholes cropped up here and there, but they weren’t due to the” flooding, Mr. Hall said. “All of the roads that were washed out were repaired and there was no structural damage to any of the bridges.”

The agency spent about $5.5 million to clear debris, repave roads and repair eroded ditches and storm drains.

Most of the money was spent in Fairfax County, where nearly 160 homes in the Huntington area have been declared uninhabitable or condemned.


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