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I-43 sewer improvements underway coincidentally after two flooding incidents

MILWAUKEE COUNTY, Wis. (CBS 58) -- When I-43 near Good Hope Road flooded on Friday, the stretch of highway stranded a handful of drivers and stopped traffic for hours.

When heavy rains came back to the area Monday night, the road was closed again, but the highway was opened much quicker and the water wasn't as high.

What was the difference between the two nights? The DOT says the rainfall was pretty comparable, but highways crews started installing a new sewer system Friday night.

Michael Pyritz, Wisconsin DOT Communication Manager, SE Region, says they're already seeing improvement with the drainage system.

I-43 at the the W. Green Tree Rd. bridge is a low-spot on the highway, and there's been flooding there before.

On Friday, crews were going to start construction on a new sewer system, but mother nature was too quick.

"We had announced and had closures in place for that Friday night that we were going to start doing that storm sewer work right, literally the day-of. We had announced that weeks ago. It's been on the radar. We knew it was part of the plan. It's been tied in with us reconstructing the Green Tree bridge," said Michael Pyritz, Communication Manager WisDOT SE Region.

Just a couple days into that sewer construction ... The DOT has already seen improvement.

"It did clear better last night than it did on Friday, so the changes that were made already have shown improvements," said Pyritz.

Danielle Crawford was on her way to work when she got stuck Friday morning. In that flooded section of I-43, she decided to climb on the roof of her car. Crawford says she's okay now.

The DOT advises that the best thing to do if water is high enough that you can't see the road, turn around. Although, Pyritz says Crawford did the safest things possible after getting stuck.

"We did see people staying with their vehicles on Friday which was a good thing to do. If you leave your vehicle, it takes even less water to sweep a person away," said Pyritz.

One thing that also improved during Monday night's rain, cars didn't try to drive through it.

"We did see motorists, on their own volition, without law enforcement wait for the water to recede before crossing... clearly what they saw from Friday resonated and they decided when you can't see the roadway better safe than sorry," said Pyritz.

The DOT warns drives to be wary of flooding in construction zones. Because the roads are a work in progress, water may not drain the way it's supposed to.

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