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It all started with a heavy downpour Thursday morning.
In a small section of Crystal along West Broadway near 57th Avenue North, the simple task of driving from point A to point B became an exercise in futility.
“People are just pulling off to the side, they can’t get through there, there’s too much water,” said a pedestrian who walked through the area.
Over the course of several minutes, a river essentially formed right in the middle of West Broadway, extending from 57th Avenue North to Cloverdale Avenue. It resulted in several stalled vehicles and a lot of people who had difficulty trying to get through.
Elizabeth Eastburn of Brooklyn Park was one of those unfortunate people who couldn’t make it through the intersection.
“I didn’t know where the road was and my car stalled out,” Eastburn said at 10:45 Thursday morning. It is now swimming in water.”
Across the street, Patti Cegla’s Saturn experienced the same fate.
“I was driving just fine and the truck in front of me just stopped right in the middle, so I had stopped so I wouldn’t hit him and then I got stuck,” Cegla said.
After being stuck for nearly an hour, Cegla’s coworkers came by to help pull her car free. However, the car wouldn’t start and the interior was submerged in water.
“My brother’s like, roll down your windows and get the oars,” Cegla said. “I’m like ugh!”
The whole ordeal became a spectator sport for those who work nearby. They say they’ve seen this scene before along West Broadway after heavy rains.
“This is a problem the city of Crystal has had for many years and they never seem to be able to do anything about it,” said Ervin Moser, a spectator who manages a property along West Broadway.
Crystal’s Public Works director has a fairly direct answer as to why.
“There’s probably not gonna be a fix in the near future,” said Crystal Public Works Director Tom Mathisen. “A fix would cost easily a million dollars, if it’s even possible, because of the size pipe that you would have to do.”
Hennepin County would also have to make it a priority because the troubled intersection is part of a county road, and considering that the intersection was dry an hour after the rain stopped, Mathisen says it’s not likely to ever be a priority.
Meantime, some just take it all in stride.
“You just can’t let things get you down,” Cegla said as she stood next to her inoperable Saturn. “You just gotta keep moving. It happens. It could’ve been worse.”
Crystal’s Public Works director says that section of West Broadway Avenue floods about twice a year.