CARRICK (KDKA) — Al Colbert owns the Colbert Collision Center at the corner of Becks Run Road and Agnew Avenue in Carrick. He’s seen flooding at his business before, but nothing like Wednesday night.
“It was pretty bad,” said Colbert. “The water was up into the parking lot. It didn’t get into the building, but that’s a good 18 feet from the road service. I can only imagine how deep it was.”
The floodwaters rushed down Becks Run Road causing the road to break apart, literally.
One driver had to be rescued from the fast moving water. Large chunks of asphalt and blacktop could be seen on Becks Run once the water receded, forcing police to close the road and forcing drivers in the area Thursday morning to spend a lot of time in traffic.
Lisa Washington reports:
“It took my one employee 25 minutes to get here and he lives on Glass Run Road,” Colbert told KDKA’s Lisa Washington. “It’s usually a two minute drive.”
“I had to come down here since this is closed, had to go up Agnew up to Churchview, all the way back around the block to come around to get my kid,” Kevin Kehren, who lives in Carrick, said. “It took me a 2 and a half hours.”
Some drivers on Agnew were so frustrated, they drove the wrong way down the one-way street.
“Not just one car, car after car after car,” Kehren said, “and the kids this morning trying to go up to the bus stop, they have to walk and there’s no sidewalk, so they have to walk in the street.”
Kehren described the rain last night, saying, “I don’t think I’ve seen a torrential rain this bad in quite some time and we’ve lived here for 15 years.”
“It came down and filled the whole intersection,” said Chuck Page, as he wielded a high pressure hose on the mud in his dairy mart parking lot.
Chuck says he’s seen plenty of floods here over the years.
“We’re used to it,” he said.
“The water had gotten underneath the pavement in between the concrete and the asphalt so it lifted the asphalt up,” Allegheny County Public Works Director Stephen Shanley said. “That’s a main artery. We want to get it open as soon as possible, but we want to make sure it’s safe.”
As soon as they had daylight, the county crews were cleaning up the asphalt debris, clearing the voids, and by late morning, starting to place new asphalt and tamp it into place.
Shanley says this is only a temporary fix to get the road reopened.
“[Next week], we’re going to do some milling, mill some off and do a more permanent repair,” he said.
Just downstream, another county crew was working quickly to get Becks Runs’ main culvert under the road cleared. The storm washed a huge number of trees down the run building an impromptu dam against the culvert that would make a beaver proud.
The crews got the flow open Thursday and will be back Friday to continue the work. Next week, they’ll mill and repave Becks Run Road. It wasn’t on the repaving schedule but the storm changed those plans.
During Friday’s work and next week, crews will close one lane at a time to get the job done.
Meanwhile, a car – fully submerged in water – rested upside down in the creek behind several Route 51 used car dealerships. It’s just one remnant of Wednesday night’s fierce flash flooding on the busy roadway.
“That’s an environmental hazard cause its upside down. It’s not our car, but the oil pumps right on top, so all that gas is leaking right into there,” said Ralph Britton, mechanic.
Several dealerships, including Fellini’s Auto Sales, experienced great loss following the storms.
Mechanics at Fellini’s tell KDKA they spent all day Thursday trying to rid the property of mud and debris. They’ll likely spend weeks to get the property back to normal.
“You don’t really think that this type of stuff it can happen,” said Arnes Bajgora, Fellini’s Auto Sales. “Last year, it happened and it’s like, ‘Okay, it won’t happen until I don’t know when,’ and then it happened again in less than a year, and it’s like, ‘Wow, this is unbelievable!’”
KDKA’s Meghan Schiller Reports:
The fast-moving waters engulfed at least 15 cars, estimated to each be worth around $4,000. The workers managed to move the most expensive cars to higher ground on the other side of the creek before the worst of the rains came.
“Trust the process and that’s what we’re doing,” said Bajgora. “One step at a time were getting a lot of mud out of here we still got a little bit to go.”
The employees told KDKA they will now look to relocate to another lot since this is the second time that stretch of Route 51 went underwater. They questioned whether the reworking of the intersection with 88 affected the drainage in the area, but did say they never flooded before construction wrapped up at that intersection.