Should Interstate 99 in Sacramento Close Early During a Storm?

The storm that ripped through Northern California on New Year’s Eve caused serious flooding and three people died in Sacramento County. Along Highway 99 near Dillard Road, where two bodies were found, some wondered why that road wasn’t closed sooner. Several people in that area had to be rescued after falling into flood waters. Danielle Hibbets was driving north from her home in Stockton to Sacramento, where she was planning to go to a New Year’s Eve comedy show. Instead, she said, she got caught in the flood. She said she didn’t realize she was in danger until it was too late. “It should have closed. The police should have been there to divert the traffic or cones or the Highway Patrol to let people know about this section of the highway,” Hibbetts said. “There was no advance notice or anything.” More than 20 cars were stranded, Caltrans said. However, considering that a rain storm was expected and that a stretch of Interstate 99 near Dillard Road is an area known to be prone to flooding, KCRA 3 spoke to Caltrans about whether the highway should have been closed sooner.”Mother Nature surprised us with how much water got in there in such a quick time, and so we wouldn’t have staff there like we have now,” Caltrans spokesman Steve Nelson said. “So, we are now active while monitoring these storms. We have the equipment and everything ready to go should that scenario arise again, but that night, unfortunately, we weren’t prepared for that kind of water to come in. Dam breaks in the Kossumnes river area mean more water flows through the highway than it normally does during a river, Nelson said. A “normal flood” occurred due to the rain. “Our top priority is safety and so we’ll be actively monitoring these disturbance areas during storms, and it looks like we won’t be getting a break anytime soon,” Nelson said. Caltrans’ goal for the future will eventually be to bring the elevation of this section of the highway up to flood level, he said. For 200 years, but the agency doesn’t currently have a program to do so yet.California this weekend.Watch full coverage of the storm here

The storm that swept through Northern California on New Year’s Eve has caused severe flooding and killed three people in Sacramento County.

Along Highway 99 near Dillard Road, where two bodies were found, some wondered why that road wasn’t closed sooner. Many people in that area had to be rescued after falling into the flood waters.

Danielle Hibbets was driving north from her home in Stockton to Sacramento, where she was planning to go to a New Year’s Eve comedy show. Instead, she said, she got caught in the flood. She said she didn’t realize she was in danger until it was too late.

“It should have been shut down. Police should have been there to divert traffic or cones or Highway Patrol to let people know that part of the highway was off,” Hibbetts said. “There was no advance notice or anything.”

Caltrans said more than 20 cars were stranded in the flood waters. Crews closed that section of the highway after midnight Sunday.

However, keeping in mind that a rainstorm was expected and that a stretch of Interstate 99 near Dillard Road is a known flood-prone area, KCRA 3 spoke to Caltrans about whether the interstate should close soon.

“Mother Nature surprised us with how much water got in there in such a quick time, and so we never had staff there like we have now,” said Caltrans spokesman Steve Nelson. “So, we’re now active while monitoring these storms. We have the equipment and everything ready to go if that scenario comes up again, but that night, unfortunately, we weren’t prepared for that kind of water to get in the way.”

Nelson said the dam breaks in the Kossumnes River area mean more water flows through the highway than would normally occur during a “normal flood event” due to precipitation.

“Our top priority is safety and so we will be actively monitoring these trouble spots during storms, and it looks like we won’t be getting a break anytime soon,” Nelson said.

Caltrans’s goal for the future will eventually be to raise the elevation of this section of the highway to flood level for 200 years, he said, but the agency does not currently have a program to do so yet.

More wet weather will pass through Northern California this weekend.

Watch full coverage of the storm here

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