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Rain & Standing Water Bring LBJ Freeway To A Standstill

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Bud Gillett
Bud is the most veteran reporter at CBS 11 News with 42 years in m...
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NORTH TEXAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – Heavy rains overnight Thursday into Friday played havoc with drivers along the LBJ Freeway in North Dallas.   Standing water near Marsh Lane forced drivers into just one lane because of debris clogging the drains at some concrete barriers.  Crews working the LBJ Corridor project were double-checking those concrete barriers that keep traffic out of construction zones.

“And it made me nervous, we were going single file,” said Pam Harris-Hackett, who was caught in the middle of the downpours. As she approached Marsh Lane, three lanes suddenly became just one…..with a police officer directing her into a water hazard.   “The water–it was actually coming over,” she said pointing to the underside of her car. “I could feel it under the car that it was hitting under the car. And I kept my foot on the accelerator because I didn’t want it to stall out in the middle of the water.”

There was debris underneath a barrier,” confirmed Heather DeLapp, spokeswoman for the folks running the LBJ Corridor Project.  She confirmed that drain areas in concrete barriers were so clogged that water had nowhere to go.  “The debris was caught within the small slots at the bottom of the barrier, and that’s what the crews did was remove all the barriers and clean out the drains underneath. So that the water can escape from the roadway.”

Standing water is an issue all along the LBJ construction, but it’s rare for it to partially shut down the freeway.  Harris-Hackett says she immediately figured out what was wrong.  “I saw the water and I wouldn’t normally go through it but I was on a highway and we had to single file go through there.”

The shifting highway construction is a daily challenge for drivers, especially in today’s rain, according to driver Benedict Khaipee.  “These medians are hard to see and when, you’re like driving especially at nighttime. So it’s really distractive.”

Some drivers, like Guanina de la Torres avoid the highway altogether.   “Forest and Walnut Hill and that takes me everywhere I need to go,” she said adding, “so I just avoid it entirely.”

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