ADOT: Overheated engines caused U.S. 60 flooding

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(Source: ADOT) (Source: ADOT)
TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Technicians with the Arizona Department of Transportation believe they have figured out why U.S. 60 between Mill Avenue and McClintock Drive flooded during Thursday’s monsoon storm, bringing rush hour traffic to a standstill.

[WATCH: Heavy rain causes flooding on U.S. 60]

A spokesman for ADOT said the Kyrene Pumping station has three pumps but one was down for repairs. Doug Nintzel said the other two engines overheated, which activated an automatic shutdown of the two pumps that were online.

The storm that hit Thursday afternoon dumped massive amounts of rain in the Tempe area within a 30-minute period.

[VIEWER VIDEOS: Monsoon storm soaks Valley]

[SLIDESHOW: Monsoon storm slams the Valley]

The freeway, according to Nintzel, never officially closed, but traffic was backed up for miles as cars tried to negotiate around the flooded lanes and at times, through nearly bumper-deep water.

In the summer of 2016, a similar set of circumstances occurred on the I-17 at Indian School Road. In that case, one of the four pumps was down for repairs and the three pumps online could also not handle the volume of runoff water. That situation closed I-17 for nearly five hours.

Nintzel also points out that there are 59 pump stations through the Valley freeway system and many of them are old, some dating back to the 1960s.

ADOT has made the upgrading of the pump-station system one of the agency’s top priorities. One project scheduled to start within the next year will renovate two stations along U.S. 60 at Val Vista Drive and at 48th Street in Mesa. ADOT also is working with the Maricopa Association of Governments on a project to replace the pump stations that remove runoff at the Cactus, Thunderbird and Greenway underpasses beneath I-17. That project, slated to start by 2019, will install a gravity-based drainage system to replace pump stations that date back to 1964.

[RELATED: Monsoon madness! Powerful storms pound the Valley]

[SPECIAL SECTION: Arizona Monsoon 2017]

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Donna RossiEmmy Award-winning reporter Donna Rossi joined CBS 5 News in September 1994.

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Donna Rossi

In that time, Donna has covered some of the most high-profile stories in the Valley and across the state. Donna's experience as a four-year veteran of the Phoenix Police Department gives her a keen sense of crime and court stories. She offered gavel to gavel coverage of the 1999 sleepwalking murder trial of Scott Falater, and the trial and conviction of retired Catholic Bishop Thomas O'Brien for a fatal hit and run accident. She also spent 2 straight weeks in northeastern Arizona in the summer of 2011 covering the Wallow Fire, the largest wildfire in Arizona history.

Donna's reputation as a fair and accurate journalist has earned her the respect of her colleagues and community. Her talent as a reporter has earned her more than a dozen Arizona Associated Press Awards and five Emmy statue.

Donna previously worked as an anchor and reporter in Tucson and got her start in broadcast journalism in Flagstaff. Donna is a past president of the Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences and currently serves on the NATAS board. She is a member of IFP/Phoenix, a non-profit organization of local film and documentary makers.

Donna was born in New York and moved to the Valley with her family when she was 9 years old. She is a graduate of Maryvale High School and attended Arizona State University. She graduated cum laude from Northern Arizona University.

In her free time, Donna enjoys boating on Bartlett Lake, all forms of music and theatre. Donna frequently donates her time to speak to community organizations and emcee their events. She is a past board member of DUET, a non-profit which helps promote health and well-being for older adults. Donna also loves donating her time to youth organizations and groups who work to secure and safeguard human rights.

On Oct. 17, 2015, Donna was honored for her amazing work over the years. The Rocky Mountain Chapter of the National Academy of Televisions Arts and Sciences inducted her into its Silver Circle. It's one of the organization's most prestigious honors for which only a few candidates are selected each year.

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