Trash Clogging Drains, Highways Like I-635 Flood

Litter blocking storm drain | Image by Alf Ribeiro/Shutterstock

Dallas has experienced its fair share of severe weather recently, and litter on roadways like Interstate 635 only exacerbates the problem, clogging drains and creating the potential for flooding.

From tornados to hail to heavy rainfall, the DFW metroplex has faced power outages, property damage, and significant disruptions to scheduled events. However, experts say that drivers may be to blame.

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) said that littering could lead to heavy flooding, causing vehicles to be trapped amid heavy waters on the roads.

When people litter, garbage piles up on the road and clogs drains. This leads to roads filling up with water, making it hard for drivers to travel safely.

“A lot of it is the deliberate littering. That’s going to be cups, wrappers, bags, things like that. Also, sometimes where cars might be hauling larger items, those get dropped off on the side of the road as well,” said Kenna Mitchell with TxDOT to NBC 5 DFW.

“Our crews are having to go into some of these high-water areas and unclogging [sic] the drains and they’re pulling out a lot of litter. Some of that is just getting washed down different embankments or perhaps it’s already along the roadways,” Mitchell added.

Mitchell explained that TxDOT takes to the street to sweep out litter and check the drains for issues before forecasted rains.

“…The problem becomes where sometimes once we’ve cleared an area, it’s just a matter of time before the litter bugs hit it again and start dropping more debris in those areas,” she said.

As previously reported by DX, polling indicates residents have been displeased with “the amount of trash, litter, or junk” plaguing Dallas, and the job city officials have done in addressing it.

Mitchell also noted that construction along the highway may add to the flooding. Work zones with narrow lanes can collect and hold water quicker than other areas of the highway.

As DX reported, a thunderstorm on Sunday caused flash flood warnings for parts of Dallas County and Tarrant County. Over 150 flights leaving DFW Airport on June 2 were canceled, and 44% were delayed.

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