PHOENIX - When it rains, it pours. During monsoon season, when it rains, it floods and this water can sometimes wreak havoc on drivers.
"Each pump we have moves 12,000 gallons of water per minute," said ADOT spokesperson Steve Elliott.
These pumps are crucial to keeping roadways dry underneath overpasses on our Valley freeways. The desert isn't used to rain most of the year, but monsoon season is the exception.
"We maintenance our pumps all year round because you never know when a storm can come," Elliott said.
Waiting for the monsoon is also too late to make sure these massive pumps are working properly, and most people don't think about them unless they fail.
"It's the exception rather than the rule that a pump station can be overwhelmed, but if a couple inches of rain falls within an hour in a specific location, it can overtax a pump station," Elliott says.
This is exactly what we saw happen along I-17 during a monsoon storm in 2016. Several cars were stranded in flood waters underneath overpasses.
ADOT realizes more needs to be done and plans to replace these pump systems on I-17 at the Cactus, Thunderbird and Greenway exits. The pumps at these locations will be replaced with new systems relying on gravity, rather than machinery.
Sometime in the next year, ADOT will begin work on replacing two pump systems along US-60 at 48th Street and Val Vista.
Regardless of what changes are made, the same general rules apply to drivers. If you see standing or rushing water, DO NOT drive through it.
It's impossible to know how deep the water is and only takes about 16 inches of rushing water to wipe a car away.