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Floods close roads around county

September 24, 2010
Jenn Brookens — Staff Writer

FAIRMONT - Flash flooding has washed out several county and gravel roads, especially in the northern portion of Martin County.

By Thursday morning, the Martin County Sheriff's Office, the Martin County Highway Department and Minnesota Department of Transportation were advising against travel on any secondary or gravel roads.

By afternoon, the Sheriff's Department issued an update, advising no travel on county roads and gravel, particularly roads north of Interstate 90.

Nearly 10 inches of rain had fallen in Martin and Faribault counties by noon Thursday, with more falling throughout the afternoon and evening.

According to Martin County Highway Department Engineer Kevin Peyman, the department already had run out of road barricades by 8 a.m. Thursday and was resorting to using flags and traffic cones to block roads.

"It's obviously not ideal, but we just ran out of barricades," he said. "We have to warn people not to drive around these barricades, or wherever they see flooding."

By Thursday afternoon, Peyman reported one area where the water was beginning to recede, and the county was able to borrow more barricades from the city of Fairmont and Department of Transportation.

There were 30 road closures because of flooding, with several closings on the same roads. Roads blocked off included County Roads 52 east of Truman, County Road 50 west of Truman, and County Road 39 southwest of Truman. Areas of County Roads 54 and 44 were also flooded in some areas.

Motorists were advised to avoid the town of Truman because of heavy flooding there.

Other areas in the region that were issued road restrictions include Highway 71 by Windom, which had some water over the road and washed-out shoulders.

Highway 30 was declared impassable from Highway 15 to New Richland, and was closed in both directions from Highway 15 to Amboy and Mapleton, while it was down to a single lane from Mapleton to County Road 14. Highway 66 south of Mankato also had water over the road and Highway 13 south of Waseca was restricted to a single lane of traffic.

Peyman said there also were concerns about damage done to the roads and bridges.

"It's tough to tell until the waters recede," he said. "We've had logs wash out and collide with bridges, so we're concerned about what damage was done."

For now, all agencies are stressing for motorists to stay away from flooded roads, and obey the road barricades.

"It's a warning that the road is not safe, and you can't tell what is under the water," Peyman said.

The Department of Transportation issued alerts throughout the day Thursday, warning drivers to stay away from flooded areas.

Two feet of water can carry away most vehicles, they said, and just a foot of water can float them. They advise people to abandon vehicles that have been surrounded by floodwaters

It is illegal to disobey a road barricade; a misdemeanor carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. If travelers need to be rescued from a closed road, they could also be billed for the rescue cost.

 
 

 

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