Flooded Roads In Mills County Being Assessed

Good news in some areas of the metro, flood waters are receding to a point where we can start to get a clearer picture of the damage.

The bad news, in Mills County, Iowa alone, the price tag is staggering.

Mills County Emergency Management Director Larry Hurst is now walking on dry pavement.

A week ago, this road was under water. Hurst says the water was at least knee high.

"The water has receded the last several days significantly off this roadway," he said.

Now, Hurst says the main goal is to get people back into their homes, but do so safely.

"The road surface has to be safe passage," he said. "Not only am I thinking about getting people back into their homes but I'm also thinking about getting first responders in, fire and EMS and law enforcement if there's a situation where we move them back in their homes."

Hurst and the county engineer are starting to inspect roads for flood damage.

They want to insure the roads are safe and won't collapse when driven on.

"The engineer's going to be looking at the approaches to those roads, he's going to be looking at the sides of the roads to see if there's any scouring or damage and sloughing," Hurst said. "There could be some damage that is unseen right now on our hard surface infrastructure."

Many of the roads in western Mills County that were under water for months are gravel roads.
"That could be simply grading and basically adding more gravel," he said.

Hurst says about two dozen roads in Mills County were closed due to flooding.

Only a hand full have been reopened.

Hurst says nearly 20 roads will remain closed county-wide for the foreseeable future.

Then the roads need to be inspected and prioritized before repaired to insure safe passage can be taken.

So as the water levels in Mills County may be falling, the overall price tag of the flood of 2011 remains a major concern.

"It could take another several weeks before we realize the overall impact of our infrastructure," he said.

Hurst says the county engineer won't be able to get an accurate picture of how extensive the damage is to roads in Mills County.

He says though the cost to repair damaged infrastructure will be in the millions.

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