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Washington Blvd. Concerns Grow As Hurricane Irene Nears

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(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Harold Hayes Harold Hayes
Harold Hayes joined KDKA-TV in August of 1979 as a general assignment...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Days after flash floods claimed the lives of four people in Highland Park, comes a new threat of heavy rain.

Hurricane Irene is closing in on the United States and its rains could reach western Pennsylvania by the weekend.

Pittsburgh officials are already looking ahead to come up with a plan to prevent last Friday’s tragic events from happening again.

“If we have to close down a road, perhaps prematurely, or perhaps unnecessarily, there’s a good chance we might do that just so that we prevent what happened on Friday and that may be an inconvenience to a lot of people, but so be it,” Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said.

Public Safety Director Michael Huss said if the upcoming weekend storm is as bad as predicted, Washington Boulevard will have to be closed until a better plan is in place.

“The answer in my mind as the mayor said is to get the road closed sooner and shut the traffic off,” Huss said.

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said rebuilding Washington Boulevard is “something to look at,” as the city looks for solutions to the problem.

However, no final plans are in place yet.

Local engineers met on Monday to discuss the issue. Ravenstahl was not necessarily satisfied with explanations from the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority and Alcosan. He wants more information from both agencies.

Meantime, the mayor answered critics regarding his whereabouts during the flooding.

“If I could have stopped the rain I certainly would’ve, but I don’t know that my location at the time of the rain on Friday would have changed anything,” Ravenstahl said. He explained that he spent the weekend with his son.

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