EAST LIBERTY (KDKA) – Some quick-moving storms caused catch basins along Washington Boulevard to clog Monday morning.

The storm came quick and dumped a lot of rain in a short amount of time. Washington Boulevard, which is known to have dangerous and deadly flooding, took on water just before 5 a.m.

“In about a 20-minute period, we got about an inch of rain, which is a lot of rain in a short period of time and Washington Boulevard did flood,” Pittsburgh Public Works Director Mike Gable said.

The rain sent water cascading down the hill. As a result, debris clogged the catch basins to the point where some manhole covers were bubbling up.

“A lot of stuff washes off the hillside and there’s a lot of basins down there. We have them all marked. So, it’s a lot easier to get to them now. In the past, we didn’t mark them and it was hard to find those,” Gable said.

Manhole covers bubbled up according to crews on scene and several cars sustained flat tires.

The muck, mud and leaves were cleared by 6 a.m. and the road reopened.

“I know they worked around a few obstacles down there. I know traffic was being let through even while we were still cleaning up, but I understand they got everything done,” Gable said.

However, the flood gates and lights were not activated. Officials said the water likely was not deep enough to automatically activate the gates. And Pittsburgh Police Zone 5 officials are looking into why the gates weren’t manually turned on.

PennDOT is not responsible for the operation of the flood gates. They just purchased and installed them.

“This is a PennDOT and City of Pittsburgh project. The public isn’t worried about who owns it. They just want to know that it works and so do we,” Gable said. “Awful lot of rain, a lot of water, in a short amount of time. Again, I don’t know if it was enough water to truly activate the gates.”

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Heather Abraham