Why is this stretch of I-285 so prone to flooding lately?

Why is this stretch of I-285 so prone to flooding lately?

DUNWOODY, Ga. — Heavy rain and flooding has forced lane closures on a busy stretch of I-285 in Dunwoody twice in just a few weeks.

Channel 2′s Mike Petchenik was in DeKalb County, where drivers say the scene is all too common.

During Saturday’s storms, ponding on the highway near Ashford Dunwoody Road shut down five of six lanes and caused major traffic backups. Earlier in January, the same thing happened during another storm.

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Petchenik reached out to the Georgia Department of Transportation to see what is causing the repeated flooding. They blame torrential downpours but say construction is also a factor.

"We experienced intense rainfall the night of the flooding occurrence," GDOT's Steve Lively said.

Lively said the rain, coupled with construction at 285 and Georgia 400, created the perfect storm.

"They had a blockage of one of the drainage systems there due to staging of the work, if you will," Lively said, explaining that crews inadvertently covered up sewer drains with their equipment.

Crews are currently working on a project that is supposed to improve infrastructure.

"The contractor has provided temporary connections so that this will not reoccur," Lively said. "Moving forward, we always are vigilant of those conditions and as the result of staged construction.

Petchenik asked Lively if GDOT plans to sanction the construction crew. He said they are going to make sure the crew is complying with its contract and will hold them accountable.

Siji Mark says she got stuck in the backups on Saturday on the way to Stone Mountain.

"It was just packed with people," Mark said. "A lot of water everywhere, raining extremely hard, just makes life difficult."

Triny Beaty lives nearby and said flooded roads compound already difficult driving conditions.

“Traffic in Atlanta is already really bad, and this makes it five times worse,” Beaty said.

Triple Team Traffic's Ashley Frasca said rain alone on Atlanta roads can increase commute times by as much as fifty percent. Add flooding, and it's a recipe for disaster. Frasca said flooding causes commuters to overcrowd surface streets in an attempt to avoid the backups.

“285 at Ashford-Dunwoody, that is one of the worst it can happen, because it’s a construction zone there and there’s already a pinch of folks moving through the area,” Frasca said.

Drivers agreed the problem needs to be solved, and fast.

“My commute doesn’t need to be an hour long to get 10 miles away, so it would be really great if they did something about it,” Mark said.