FORT WORTH - On Jan. 25, drivers ignored the warning lights in North Fort Worth. Some pushed through two feet of water. One woman's car washed off the roadway.
Cromwell Marine Creek Road is now a high-priority for flood control. Crews are building a 200-foot-long bridge to keep drivers well above the water.
It's part of $150-million in flood-control improvements across the city.
The city has identified more than a billion dollars in flood control needs, and slated $350 million as "high-priority," but a bridge is not the solution for every water crossing.
"Some of those, it would just not be feasible," said Greg Simmons with Fort Worth Stormwater Management. "It would cost tens to hundreds of millions of dollars to correct the situation, so it may be a long-term warning system in those cases."
At Sansom Park, flood waters used to swallow the road. Drainage improvements and a new bridge have made it passable in almost all conditions.
Near Eastern Hills Elementary, engineers opted for a detention pond, and work is nearly complete. When it's dry, the area will serve as athletic fields. After a storm, it will work as a funnel, collecting millions of gallons of rainwater, diverting it from nearby homes.
Within the next year, 38 water crossings will get new warning lights. There are already 19 across the city. Sensors on creek sides detect water levels, trigger the lights and call in personnel to barricade the roadway when needed.
The city believes with enough warning systems, it can save money and lives. Drivers will eventually learn to protect themselves and not barrel through high water.
The $150-million in projects comes from revenue bonds sold in 2007, 2009 and 2011. The city said at least 43 projects are in planning, design or construction phases.
Fort Worth identified 11 areas of critical importance where preventive measures are given top priority during 270 pre-storm checks: 1200 E. Butler, 5500 Dirks Rd, 8000 Old Granbury Rd, 2100 Cunningham, 9200 Trinity Blvd, 7900 Trinity Blvd, 3000 Precinct Line Rd @ Randol Mill Rd, 4950 Cromwell Marine Creek Blvd, 2700 Decatur @ N.E 28th St, 2600 Wilson, 5224 Dallas.