Roads closingHigh waters creating safety hazards
The English River near Kalona is expected to crest at 21.12 feet Wednesday afternoon according to the National Weather Service (NWS) Web site.
At 9 a.m. the NWS observed the English River at 21.03 feet. Flood stage is anything above 14 feet, according to the NWS.
With the river being so high, this led the Washington County Engineer’s office to close roads yesterday.
Washington County Engineer Jacob Thorius expects Riverside Road from 130th Street to River Road in Riverside to close this afternoon. Barricades were put up yesterday.
“We put them up yesterday [Tuesday] in preparation,” Thorius said. “We fully expect water to be over the road in the next 24 hours, probably tonight.”
Thorius drove to Wellman Wednesday morning to check on some of the roads the county closed. He said he could see water already receding from them and looked at what was damaged.
“We’re seeing a lot of rock loss,” Thorius said. “We have culverts for those roads in the Wellman and Kalona area, but they weren’t big enough to handle the 8 inches of rain they received.”
Other than the rock loss there isn’t any major damage to the roads, Thorius said.
“Based on past experiences there is probably $20,000 to $40,000 of damage on our gravel roads,” he said.
Money to repair the gravel roads will come from the maintenance part of the Washington County Engineer’s budget, Thorius said.
The Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) is also closing roads in the District 5 areas, which includes Washington County.
Jason Huddle, transportation planner for the DOT at the Fairfield Office, said Highway 92 to Columbus Junction over the Iowa River is closed because of high water, U.S. Highway 61 north of Wapello is closed, Highway 22 east of Muscatine to Buffalo will close later today, and down by Keokuk U.S. Highway 61 and Highway 136 are expected to close later today.
“We expect these closures to be short-term — 36 to 48 hours,” Huddle said.
The DOT doesn’t expect to close Highway 1 by Old Man’s Creek, he said.
“There aren’t any plans to close that because the water is beginning to recede in that area,” Huddle said.
One thing people can do as they prepare to travel for the Fourth of July is check the road closures on the DOT’s Web site, which is www.511ia.org, he said.
Roads continue to be closed as needed by state officials. The most recent road closure announced at press time is Highway 22 west of Kalona to 2019 Juniper Street because of water over the road.