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What’s causing the flooding on a stretch of Washington Street?


State and city officials aren’t sure what’s causing the northbound lane of Washington Street, near the Sisters of St. Joseph, to be flooded.

City Department of Public Works crews put up barricades on the east side of the road several weeks ago because of the flooding problems, which are being attributed to underground springs.

Catch basins were working, but something has changed, state Department of Transportation and city of Watertown officials said.

The spot where it’s happening is on a downgrade, said Michael R. Flick, public information officer for DOT Region 7.

“It’s percolating out,” Mr. Flick said. “It finds it way out into the street.”

With the temperatures dipping well below freezing most of the winter, ice has built up there.

City water Superintendent Michael J. Sligar said the abundance of development in recent years on the nearby rocky hill could be the cause. But maybe not, he said.

Artesian wells also could be the culprit, according to Mr. Sligar.

Natural pressure causes groundwater to the surface.

He recalled that the state upgraded the four-lane highway years ago.

He wondered whether that may be playing a role in the flooding.

Mr. Flick said he would like to know what’s causing it.

“It’s something we could look into,” he said.

It may very well be that a cause cannot be determined, they said.

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