The Blanchard River watershed reacts differently every time it floods. But certain roads tend to become impassable whenever water creeps into major flood stage.
And when the barricades go up, it can divide the city, slowing emergency response and forcing everyone to seek alternative routes.
Flood studies have long pointed out a need for transportation corridor improvements, and the idea has now risen toward the top of the to-do list.
On Tuesday, Findlay City Council approved an agreement with the Hancock County commissioners to improve — basically elevate — portions of three major city roads which are among the most prone to flooding.
The selected locations for improvements — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way, East Sandusky Street, and Western Avenue — should not surprise anyone who has endured city flooding in recent years. Each is a main artery through Findlay which, when closed, can cause major gridlock and much frustration.
The partnership between the city and county is encouraging and suggests our government is working toward a common goal.
The city has agreed to contract the work and any land acquisition, and provide any city-owned land needed to construct any improvements. Findlay will also permanently maintain the improvements.
The county, meanwhile, will pay for preliminary engineering, construction and land acquisition using the money remaining in the flood fund, which now contains about $11 million.
Like other flood-related projects thus far, elevating roads won’t be a cure to all that ails us when it rains.
But Findlay is the central hub of Hancock County, and its main roadways should remain passable not only for police and ambulances during the peak of a flood, but for all as soon as possible once floodwaters recede.
Each of the three road projects will create additional traffic congestion as they are constructed, but in the long run will reduce future headaches — and the need for some barricades — when we flood.
In one way or another, everyone, whether in Findlay or Vanlue or McComb, or those just passing through the area, is affected by flooding. It makes sense that our city and county governments work closely together to address our shared flooding problems.