If this week’s stormy weather across Iowa had brought snow instead of rain, we’d be digging out from quite a blizzard. Since it’s all been rain, they were flood warnings instead, and one person who had to cope was DOT District One Maintenance Manager Mike Krohn. He says when floodwaters cover a highway, his crews will do what’s necessary to keep motorists safe, from closing the road to simply warning travelers headed in that direction.
Most of the time they pull a "static" sign out of the garage and set it up in a location ahead of some trouble spot, warning that there’s water over the road, or the road is closed. The state installed several light-up signs on major roadways that can be turned on by remote control, and Krohn says if they’re in a strategic location they can be programmed with a flood alert by pushing buttons.
Krohn says sometimes they’ll issue a warning when there isn’t water over the road, but engineers know high water may be eroding the base of a bridge or other structure. He says, "We know which bridges need attention, so we watch those extra close, especially when the water comes up."