Public Works keeping our streets safe - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Public Works keeping our streets safe

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Plenty of rain is in the forecast this week, and the Chattanooga Public Works department is helping to make the streets safer for drivers. Crews spent Monday cleaning storm drains across the city. Crew supervisor Rob Bartol considers it an important job.

"When the road floods, you get hydroplaning and what not, so it's a major concern," Bartol says. "That's one of the reasons we try to stay on them and keep them clean."

Crews don't stop when the wet weather arrives.

"They [storm drains] tend to cover up right behind you, but we perform this maintenance before, during, and after the rain events," Bartol adds.

He says working in the rain or cold is one of the hardest parts of the job.

Crews dig out dirt, trash, and other debris year-round, and sometimes more than three tons of it a day. This includes regular routes as well as a couple hundred "hot spots," which are most prone to flooding.

"Sometimes it's 40 hours a week that we're cleaning basins, especially when the leaves fall," Ricky Colston, director of city-wide services, says.

Crews take the responsibility seriously because flooding can be a serious issue. Colston says this is why 18 crews are dedicated to the job each day.

"It can actually come over a road," Colston explained. "If that happens before we can get to it, we'll have to wait until the water goes down."

He says homeowners can do their part.

"When you're raking your leaves to be picked up, make sure you don't rake them over catch basins or in ditch lines," Colston adds. That'll help us out a lot."

Also, when you see Public Works crews, please be careful and slow down. Safety is often a challenge for them.

"People not moving to another lane until right at the last minute," Bartol says. "That's pretty scary."

If one of those hot spots is in your neighborhood or you see a lot of debris near a drain, now is a good time to call 3-1-1 or use the CHATT311 app. With rain in the forecast, crews will continue working through the week.

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