Clogged drain on highway causes major delays into downtown Cleveland

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CLEVELAND-- Thousands of people were late for work in downtown Cleveland on Wednesday morning, and most of them could not believe the reason why.

As rain was falling, a clogged drain on the Innerbelt caused water to pool on the highway. As drivers slowed down for what amounted to a large puddle, rush-hour traffic slowed to a crawl and at times a dead stop on Interstate 90, Interstate 490 and Interstate 77 heading into downtown.

“Enough to drive you crazy. Do you think with the money they spend on it, they could at least clean drains every once in a while. I see them out there, but you don’t know what they’re doing, “ said Paul Schoeneman, a Cleveland courier.

ODOT eventually dispatched crews in vacuum trucks to clean out the clogged drain. A spokesman said ODOT learned about the problem with the drain when it rained over the weekend.

“A lot of times on roadways, drainage systems get plugged for whatever reason, debris, collapsed pipes. Anything and everything that can get in that pipe, will,” said Brent Kovacs, with ODOT.

Some of the commuters who were late for work are wondering why ODOT did not unclog the drain when crews first learned about the problem.

“There is no way we could have prevented it. Whatever caused that pipe to become clogged, wasn’t there a couple of weeks ago. And it didn’t start raining until rush hour, so what happened is whatever Mother Nature threw at us. It just happened to be at rush hour at the same time," Kovacs said.

Some taxpayers wonder if regular preventative maintenance might prevent problems like Wednesday’s traffic headache.

“They should be a little more diligent in checking these things, not waiting for it to back up," Schoeneman said.

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