PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Until now, the focus has been on the flood gates on Washington Boulevard that didn’t work; but all agree that even when working properly, they’re just a band aid on a bigger problem.
“The gates won’t stop flooding,” says Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto. “It’s like a sign that says, ‘beware of the crocodile, don’t get too close.’”
Mayor Peduto says he wants to fix the flooding itself, which occurs in major rainstorms.
Washington Boulevard is a depression which collects water from the surrounding hills, and the mayor is proposing a very expensive engineering solution.
“You’re looking at tens of millions. I don’t know what the price tag would be, but it’s a hefty price tag,” Mayor Peduto said.
Underneath the area runs a storm sewer meant to collect rain in a heavy downpour.
The problem is the pipe is too narrow and the entire basin is prone to flooding. The idea is to open up a channel or daylight a stream that would take the water all the way to the Allegheny River.
The open channel stream would have to pass under Allegheny River Boulevard, which now serves as a dam. It’s a very challenging engineer feat and very expensive.
While Washington Boulevard is only one of several section of the city prone to major flooding and in need of major fixes, the mayor said the city taxpayers can’t go it alone.
“It will require an approach that involves the state, the county, the federal government and the city,” Mayor Peduto said.
In the meantime, the mayor has ordered his chief of staff to investigate the failing gates.
“Chief of Staff Kevin Acklin has requested all emails, all documents pertaining to this to be submitted to him by close of day tomorrow,” said Mayor Peduto.