Part of I-76 to close for mud cleanup this week

<div class="meta image-caption"><div class="origin-logo origin-image none"><span>none</span></div><span class="caption-text">8.4.2009 - Workers limit traffic along the easbound lanes of the Schuylkill Express for cleanup of debris from weekened flooding. One lane will be closed Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9:30 a.m. until at least 2 p.m.</span></div>
August 3, 2009 3:48:39 PM PDT
PennDOT announced that there will be a lane closure on Interstate 76 eastbound this week to clean up the mud and debris after part of the highway was flooded over the weekend.Eastbound Interstate 76 will be reduced from two lanes to one lane about two miles east of the Conshohocken Exit (331B) in Lower Merion Township, Montgomery County, Tuesday through Thursday (Aug. 4-6) from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

RELATED SLIDESHOW: Pictures of flooding on I-76.

I-76's eastbound right lane will be closed during this operation, which is the result of Sunday's flooding of the expressway in this area.

PennDOT says drivers should use an alternate route, such as Interstate 476 or Route 23, or allow additional time for travel on eastbound on I-76 because backups will occur during work hours.

PennDOT District Executive Lester C. Toaso said crews will sweep the shoulder clean of dirt and mud, and then work along eastbound I-76 to remove mud, debris and stones from behind the concrete barrier alongside the shoulder.

Crews also will remove obstructions at drain pipes located on the embankment adjacent to the expressway.

It's fortunate the deluge happened on a Sunday morning, not during a work week rush hour.

Drivers were trapped in the east and southbound lanes for up to four hours.

Just under 1,000 feet of road was overwhelmed with water, mud and debris despite a draining system built into the south Montgomery mountainside about two miles east of the Conshocken exit.

"There was just too much water, it overwhelmed the drainage systems that were involved on the Schuylkill Expressway and other roadways, and as a result this is what occured," said Toaso.

The perfect storm and once in a blue moon flooding levels, PennDOT says, are simply more than than can be handled by anything currently in place along this critical stretch of highway.

But, there's always tomorrow.

"Within the next few months we'll have an idea of what we can do to remedy the situation. We're not saying we can absolutely, positively prevent this from happening, but we're going to look to see what we can do," Toaso said.

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