For a few hours on Sunday, eastbound Business 80 between Fulton and Watt was Lake Capital City Freeway.
Cars and trucks were stuck fording a virtual river, causing some to stall and strand drivers, while other drivers simply turned around past the Fulton Avenue exit.
The first problem was obviously the rain. Secondly, a key piece of the drainage puzzle stopped working. There are two pumps on Business 80 at Marconi, one of them broke during the height of the storm.
The next problem? The combo of too much rain and loose soil.
“There was a small mudslide that came off an embankment – that brought some of the mud and wood chips that covered up the grates,” Dennis Keaton of CalTrans told FOX40.
The mud, wood chips and leaves covered four drainage grates, essentially choking them, even though they had been cleared three times last week.
There was also a broken water pipe at a storage facility adding to the water woes.
The final problem was the skeleton crew CalTrans had in place. Due to overtime budget limitations, they weren’t fully staffed for the storm. The crews CalTrans did have had been assigned to the Sierra, on snow patrol.
“When you’re dealing with splitting the crews and having to send them to other areas, they tend to thin out a little bit,” Keaton said.
Once crews did arrive, it took about two hours to clean the grates and get the water to drain.