By John Shumway

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It rained hard this weekend and in the Oakwood section of Pittsburgh, two people had to be rescued from a pickup truck.

“Once that creek runs full barrel, that water [has] nowhere to go but to back up onto the streets,” Pittsburgh Public Works Director Rob Kaczorowski said.

That seems to be a recurring theme in many areas of our town and Kaczorowski says it’s in part the result of environmental regulations involving clearing debris from creek beds.

“In the old days, we would do it, we’d go in with the equipment, do what we had to do,” he said.

Today, there’s a lot of red tape before they can even enter the creek.

That’s not to say the double whammy on Route 51 in less than a couple weeks is unique.

“When I was a laborer back in the 80s, we went down there, had the same problems, the same situations that are occurring now.”

Kaczorowski says the trouble begins when the creeks are full.

“That water from the roadway, that storm water actually goes into the creeks,” he says. “So, what happens is there’s nowhere for the water to go but back up so it enters onto the roadway, it backs up.”

That said there is an answer.

“The city and state should lobby the federal government and come in and continue the flood remediation they started in the West End,” Kaczorowski said.

Since this massive rebuilding of the north end of Saw Mill Run, Kaczorowski says there have been no flooding problems in this part of the run.

He may be right, but the project in the West End was literally in the planning stages for years, took millions of dollars to complete and years to build and so far there is not even a discussion about continuing this work further upstream.

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