The continued rain and flooding is hampering efforts to repair roads in northern Iowa that were heavily damaged by high water last week. Pete Hjelmsted, field services coordinator for the Iowa Department of Transportation, says Highways 9 and 18 near Osage will be closed for weeks, as water is very powerful when it washes over roads.
“What happens is it runs over the highway and when it comes down just that little bit of drop between the pavement and the shoulder, when it dips down, the water starts eroding away,” Hjelmsted says. “When it continues to run, it erodes away the material there and it starts eroding underneath the highway, and when it erodes away the material underneath the highway, there’s nothing to support the pavement and it collapses.”
Hjelmsted advises travelers to remain cautious of roadways during these times of heavy rainfall. He repeats the phrase, “Turn around, don’t drown.”
“It is that simple,” Hjelmsted says. “If you see water going over the roadway, turn around, don’t risk it. When you get someplace where you can stop and give somebody a call, call the local authorities so they can put up the proper barricades or detours so other people don’t have to risk their lives by driving through as well.”
For a listing of road closures, detours and alerts statewide, call 511 or visit: www.511ia.org.
By Angela Barton, KCHA, Charles City