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DOT: "Freak storm," trash combined to flood connector | News

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DOT: "Freak storm," trash combined to flood connector

ATLANTA -- State officials say trash in the highway, and a small but powerful thunderstorm, combined to flood the busy Downtown Connector Sunday. The flooding closed the highway for about 40 minutes.

State officials say the thunderstorm lingered over downtown about midday Sunday. Winds of up to 50 miles an hour sent debris flying into the road, they say. That happened at the same time that 2 to 4 inches of rain poured onto the asphalt. The debris, they say, clogged the highway's storm drains at the exact time the water started pooling. The Downtown Connector combines traffic from Interstates 75 and 85. The flooding occurred mostly between the Freedom Parkway exit and the Peachtree / Pine St. exit in both directions.

"A bad storm," said DOT spokeswoman Natalie Dale. "Heavy rainfall, two to four inches. A lot of debris, a lot of wind bringing that debris into a low lying area. That created this problem."


State officials say DOT crews had worked on the downtown connector three days earlier -- on Thursday -- to clear trash from the very grates that clogged and flooded the highway Sunday. At that point, they say, they had done the preventive maintenance that was supposed to keep such flooding from happening.