ST. LOUIS – Over the weekend, flooding slammed interstate highways and other major roads in the St. Louis area.
“When it comes in a lot fewer days and a lot smaller storms, you have these massive storms that hit, and there is just nothing that’s going to take that away,” said Brian Hoelscher, executive director and CEO of the Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD). “That immediate area is going to flood. Everything is going to go underwater.”
Hoelscher explained the possible solutions to the flooding problem.
“So there‘s two options, and they’re different from each one. You either move the facilities out of or raise them above those problems or else, if possible, you can engineer or try to put larger capacity structures in,” he said. “It’s going to cost a lot of money, whatever the solution happens to be. We’d put design storms in and say, that’s how much we’re willing to pay for a certain level of protection; climate change has changed that calculation.”
Some of the problems on Sunday revolved around flooding on I-55 and I-64. MoDOT rebuilt 10 miles of I-64 in 2007 at a cost of $535 million.
“Throughout our district over this past weekend, we’ve had dealing with extreme weather,” said Michelle Forneris, assistant district engineer for MoDOT. “We’re experiencing a lot of rainfall in a very short amount of time. Oftentimes that will overwhelm the storm drains and back up.”
Forneris said fixing the problem has a price tag.
“There’s always ways to engineer around things, but that also comes at a cost.”