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TDOT crews busy as storms roll through town

Posted at 10:35 PM, Jul 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-20 12:32:01-04

As storms rip through the area, flooding streets and tearing down trees, most people try to get off the road -- but not Jim Foreman.

"I just chase them around," he said. "Call in the personnel I need to block off those roads or put up those barricades."

He works for the Tucson Department of Transportation. During monsoon, he roves around the east side of town from Country Club Rd. down to the fairgrounds. He goes from dip crossing to dip crossing, flood zone to flood zone, making the call whether or not to put up the barriers and close a road. But when the signs go up, he says many drivers still go down the closed roads.

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"We get a lot of cars that get flooded away, it's not worth it," Foreman said. "It's not worth saving that little bit of time."

He says drivers are better safe than sorry, and when it comes to putting the barriers up, he does it for everyone's safety.

"It doesn't take much to wash these little cars away," Foreman said.

His job is tricky enough as it is when the rain is pouring down, but his work gets cut out for him when the storm passes by -- leaving flooded streets and debris in it's wake.

"Several trees went down," he said. "This is only the second one out of about 15."

The tree he was referring to was a mesquite that was ripped out and blocked a lane of traffic at 22nd St. and Park, during rush hour.

"Debris causes traffic jams, and It's hard to work around all that traffic," Foreman said.

Yet despite the damage, repairs, and busy afternoon, he says it was not atypical -- just another monsoon day.

"You roll with it when it comes in," he said. "Then make the necessary changes, put the personnel where you need to put them, and roll with the punches."