Detroit's sunken roadways

'beginning with the Davison Freeway, opened in 1942 to accommodate defense-plant traffic, Detroit officials decided to build sunken roadways, in part to keep the buzz of passing cars from disturbing homeowners.

‘The roads, nicknamed “the ditches,” require a citywide pumping system, akin to the one New Orleans uses to clear its streets. During the June 25 storm, at least 28 of the area’s 140 freeway pumps either did not have power or ran into mechanical problems. This, despite extensive efforts following the 2014 floods to make sure freeway pumps would remain functional in the wake of storms.’

Misleading article title. The events were all weather events not climate events. There is a difference.

That is the risk of sunken highways, railways, subways and cities. Build something below grade, below sea level or below the water table and you will need pumps.

Remember the key truths… water runs downhill and feces floats.


Remember that phrase and you could be a plumber some day. The version I’m familiar with has “and you get paid on Friday” attached to the end.


In addition to paid on Friday, add concrete is hard and you could become a civil engineer. At least that is what my dad, a civil engineer, taught me!

Climate IS weather…Weather is what’s happening NOW. Climate is Weather average over long periods of time. Gather enough data on Weather and you have Climate.

What happened NOW is Weather…but the Climate trend says those storms are going to happen again and again and even get worse.

So flooded highways was a weather event and not a climate event confirming my comment about the article title. Thanks.

Detroit had lots of warning this storm was coming. It hit us days before it reached Detroit. It flooded a few areas near us… Florida, near sea level…go figure! So it wasn’t like they couldn’t have been prepared to close highways before cars started floating.


A roofer once told me that all you had to do to be a good roofer or plumber is “to be smarter than water”.

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Water is so contrary, faucets leak and drains plug up :wink:

Back in the '70s, the city of Elizabeth, NJ decided to finally do something to remediate really bad flooding in one section of the city. The engineering firm that was called in to design the new drainage system found that, underneath the main avenue, there was a beautiful system of stone drainage tunnels, apparently dating back to the late 19th Century. The engineering report noted, “… and if water could somehow be taught how to flow uphill, that drainage system would have worked”.

The city had to pay to first remove the old (forgotten) drainage tunnels before construction could begin on the new system.

Gee… I thought that “everything was built better in the good old days”…


Have seen to many bad old projects that looked like they were started at 30. A lot of great old work also. Old is no guarantee of good.

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You woulda thunk so. :laughing:

My wood floor exposed under carpet.Luckily a desk and computer cover it up. Dang I spilled the stain (1918)

The farm from which I used to get my summer produce includes a home that was built in the 1750s, and the owners live in that building. The woman with whom I used to deal when I went to that farm related her tale of woe to me. She and hubby noticed that one exterior wall was buckling, and the contractor who went into the basement to investigate found that only about 1 inch of that wall’s structure was sitting on the old stone foundation. The contractor he stated that whoever built it must have been drunk when they got to that part of the construction.

When they asked the guy how it was that the building was able to stand for so many years before the exterior wall began to buckle, he told them, “It’s only standing out of habit”.


I’m NOT confirming what you said. Climate IS the overall cause. And the trend is going to continue or even get worse. Climate is the Gun and Weather is the bullet. Is it the Gun firing that caused the death or the bullet that tore through the body?