GDOT cleans clogged storm drains ahead of rainy holiday travel day

It’s a job few will do, but many depend on in metro Atlanta.
Published: Nov. 20, 2023 at 6:50 PM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) removed debris from interstate storm drains Monday ahead of showers and storms in the forecast on Tuesday.

It’s a job few will do, but many depend on in metro Atlanta.

FIRST ALERT FORECAST: First Alert Weather Day for widespread rain, storms set for Tuesday

“They’re going to try and get the amount of trash and leaves out that they can get moved away. They will collect those. You will see trucks full of leaves and that sort of stuff. They’ll be looking down into the drain to see if there’s any sort of visible obstruction,” Natalie Dale, GDOT spokesperson, said.

It’s one of the busiest travel weeks of the year. AAA projects more than 55 million people will head 50 miles or more over the Thanksgiving holiday.

RELATED: Atlanta airport anticipates 3.6M travelers to pass through for Thanksgiving holiday

Shelby Mixon and her husband traveled all the way from Texas and had to make a pitstop in town to fix a flat tire.

“So, we’re supposed to be going up to South Carolina and we’re leaving tomorrow,” Mixon said.

Now, they’re concerned about the possibility of clogged drains and flash flooding on back roads while driving on a spare.

“That’s great that they’re doing it on the interstates but in small cities and towns like this, it’s not very helpful. At all,” Mixon said.

The concern is that leaves are falling faster and more frequently than drains can be cleared. GDOT warns there could be flooding on some roadways.

“You still want to have an eye out when you’re traveling for areas of the interstate that can flood due to the amount of leaves, trash and debris that are swept into the system this time of year,” Dale said.

Earlier this year, clogged drains caused hazardous driving conditions and even led to emergency rescues in metro Atlanta.

“If you can delay a trip during bad weather and you have flexibility within your travel schedule that’s a good idea as this weather comes through,” Dale said.