UPPER ST. CLAIR (KDKA) — With more rain in the forecast this weekend, people cleaning up the flood damage in the South Hills are hoping the situation doesn’t go from bad to worse.
As the cleanup continues, there is concern.
“The water again was almost up as high as the asphalt there this morning,” said Richard Cortes, who is already beside himself.
The office buildings he owns next to the Outback Steakhouse in Upper St. Clair were flooded. One with 12 feet of water.
“The culvert here, it was under design to start with, it couldn’t handle the amount of water,” said Cortes.
Now, the pavement above the culvert, in the restaurant’s parking lot, is badly buckling. According to Cortes, it was in need of repair before the rain fell.
“The problem with it is, it got damaged by stones and limbs and tree trunks. And, that even restricted, the flow through is even more so,” said Cortes.
He told KDKA it’s causing repeated flooding, but the damage has never been this severe.
“You can see what’s happened to it now. It’s ready to fall apart,” said Cortes.
According to Cortes, the culvert should have been repaired or rebuilt long ago.
“They had a permit issued in 2016 by the EPA to rebuild it or put in a new one and the Outback didn’t do it,” said Cortes.
PEMA and Allegheny County Emergency Services are assessing the cost of all the damage.
“Today, we have four teams out. Upper St. Clair, Bethel Park, South Park and Bridgeville. And we don’t know that we will get all the work done, but, as you know, the southern part of Allegheny County was the heaviest hit,” said Steve Imbarlina, Asst. Chief of Allegheny County Emergency Services.
Federal assistance will depend on the final dollar amounts. In the meantime, officials are urging people to take every safety precaution.
“With additional rain being forecasted for this weekend, all the things that we see and those public safety things — turn around don’t drown, don’t drive in the flood waters,” said Asst. Chief Imbarlina.
Until more rain falls, the cleanup will carry on.
Bloomin’ Brands, Inc., who owns Outback Steakhouse, told KDKA all of the employees will be paid at least through July 1, 2018, and the company will try to relocate them to other Outback locations.
As for the building, Bloomin’ Brands said it’s too soon to announce any plans. KDKA also made another inquiry about the culvert and have yet to hear back.