Town of Woodbury looking to install floodgates

Date: 2021-09-15 22:41:15

David Lampart, the town’s Emergency Management Director, said the gates would be locked to stop vehicle traffic along certain flood-prone roads.

WOODBURY, Conn. — The Emergency Management Director for the town of Woodbury was among those searching for Connecticut State Police Sgt. Brian Mohl, who was killed two weeks ago when floodwaters swept his cruiser into the Pomperaug River.

David Lampart is now working to make sure the scenario never happens again in town.

RELATED: ‘He could be counted on to get the job done’ | Fallen state police Sgt. Brian Mohl laid to rest

“We’ve been talking about putting up very strong (flood) gates,” Lampart told FOX61.

Gates that, during flooding, would be locked to stop vehicle traffic along certain flood-prone roads.

Those areas include the vicinity of Three Rivers Park, which is part of a flood plain between Jack’s Bridge Road and Judson Avenue, where Mohl was swept away.

“I’m gonna be applying for a FEMA grant for about $100,000 that has to be the gates, the pre-warning, the warning on the gates,” Lampart added.

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“This is really one of those situations where we can’t ignore the cost,” State Sen. Eric Berthel (R-32) said. “We look at the cost and we say it’s something we have to do. We have to spend this money.”

Gates are warranted following this tragedy because through the years, people have often ignored cones and signage blocking flooded roads, according to Lampart.

“And if people are a little inconvenienced when there’s a storm, too bad,” Andree Davis, of Woodbury said. “It’s for their own protection and it’s for my protection.”

With the river’s normal tranquil flow, it’s hard to imagine what it morphed into September 2. According to the US Geological Survey monitor at Jack’s Bridge, it was flowing at 28,000 gallons per second, Lampart added.

“I’ve never seen it do what it did a couple weeks ago,” Ed Grudzien, a lifelong Woodbury resident said. “Rise so fast and jump out. But this thing went wild. It came up like 8 to 8 1/2 feet in a matter of hours.”

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Lampart says your vehicle can be swept off a roadway in as little as two inches of water if the water is moving fast enough across the road.

Tony Terzi is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at tterzi@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

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