Letter: What happens in a 5”-8” rainstorm?
The Ditches of Mathews County (http://www.facebook.com/mcditches) thanks the Gazette-Journal for last week’s article bringing attention to the ditch conditions here. VDOT’s response was to run around the county using the rotoditcher and shovels in flooded ditches. Rotoditching this time of year, not immediately followed by pipe cleaning, means more blocked pipes from mud from the rotoditcher. It’s a waste of time and money. Pipes are blocked all over the county, and there’s no pipe cleaning truck in sight.
When you see flooded ditches, it’s not global warming. It’s not sea level rise. It’s VDOT neglect. And when the next hurricane comes, we can thank VDOT for all the destruction their negligence will produce. A 1½-inch rain last week caused flooding over roads in Hallieford, Ridge Road near Blakes, Port Haywood on 605, 607 and 608, in Onemo on 609, 611, and 677, Bandy Ridge Road near the Court House, and in Diggs, to name a few places. What is going to happen with a 5"-8" rainstorm?
For ditches to function well, the pipes need to be more than 30 percent open, which is about the best in too many pipes. At 70 percent blockage, only water coming over the top can get through. Once the water level declines to the level of the blockage—flow stops. Water still won’t run uphill.
If every low spot in the roadway doesn’t have adequate drainage, roadbeds deteriorate. Ditches need to slope to outfall ditches that aren’t blocked by fallen trees and debris, through pipes that are clear. We need all three things—ditches, pipes and outfalls—working at the same time.
The only place for rotoditching in the winter is to clear gravel VDOT scraped into them, like Bandy Ridge Road, and when they did that last week, the gravel ended up being flung onto the adjacent properties. Isn’t it called littering when you throw your discarded material on someone else’s property? And all of this because VDOT won’t get a power rake to pick up pine straw and scrape off and replace road gravel instead. (But they haven’t put it back on Bandy Ridge Road yet.)
Carol J. Bova