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  • Writer's pictureJournal Staff Report

Cost to repair flood-damaged roads estimated at $4 million

Updated: Jun 6

County Road 1095 north of 1650 Road was swallowed up by Big Sugar Creek following extremely heavy rains on the weekend of April 27-28. Portions of the paved road remained closed for several days. (Roger Sims/Linn County Journal)

Journal staff report,

MOUND CITY – The tornado on Friday evening and the possible cloud rotation on Saturday did some damage in Linn County last weekend (see related story). But it wasn’t nearly on the scale of damage caused by heavy rains.

The deluge of rain that took a slow track through through the county on Saturday into Sunday, April 27-28, dumped as much as 11 inches and possibly more of rain in a little more than 24 hours.

The resulting damage to county roads is estimated to be more than $4 million, according to Shaun West, county public works director. West said that gravel alone to replace the washed out roads would be at least $1 million.

That doesn’t include the damage that occurred to businesses and private property.

This pickup washed off the road near Pleasanton in the early hours of Sunday morning. (Photo by Angelina Randall)

Flash flooding closed roads in several areas. Big Sugar Creek quickly left its banks in the center portion of the county. Middle Creek cut off La Cygne to the east, and the Marais des Cygnes River lapped at the shoulder of Kansas Highway 152 between La Cygne and the Prairie View school complex to the west.

As the rain subsided on Sunday, several of the lesser tributaries remained above flood stage. Water covered farm fields and roads both paved and gravel. Branches and debris were swept along with the flooding, piling up against bridges and slowing the flow of the water.

The bridges, built higher than the roadways leading up to them, for the most part appeared to have withstood the flooding. However log jams at the bridges sent overflow water onto the roads and pavement aprons leading up the the bridges. Those areas suffered damage, and several stretches of gravel roads washed away.

County crews survey damage to roads and bridges following the flooding. A grader fell through the section of a road after water washed away the gravel base under the roadway. (Linn County Public Works Department)

West said that a more thorough assessment of the bridges would be conducted once the log jams had been cleared away.

As the flooding subsided, it became apparent that Linn County’s road system had received a major shock and the damage was extensive.

The Pleasanton area apparently received the most rain, with Council Member Bill Skipper recounting that after dumping an inch or so from a rain gauge from Friday’s storm, the gauge that can record up to 10 inches was overflowing.

Emergency Management Coordinator Randy Hegwald reported to the Linn County Commission on Monday, April 29, that the county had to do two water rescues. One was for a person who had driven into some swift water and the other was at a residence where the water was rising quickly.

Flooding washed out this recent asphalt patch on a bridge on 850 Road north of Mound City. While most of the bridges withstood the flooding, many of the paved aprons leading up to the bridges were damaged. (Linn County Public Works Department)

At one point during the evening, concern about one of the residents being unable to escape the flooding prompted Pleasanton Officer Ivan Squire to wade through waist-deep water to do a wellness check. The resident turned out to be safe, but concerns about flooding remain in and around the city continued.

Council member Angie Randall was out in the early hours of Sunday when a pickup truck was swept off a roadway and into a ditch.

Pleasanton Mayor Mathew Young said on Monday that the floor of the Faith Chapel church on East Seventh Street flooded with as much as 4 inches of water covering the carpeted floor.

At Monday’s commission meeting, West and Hegwald delivered the bad news about flood damage to the commission. But it took until the end of the day Monday for West to have an estimate of the damage done.

These cracks were caused by the shifting and settling base under the paved roadway. (Linn County Public Works Department)

Hegwald asked the commissioners to sign a resolution for a proclamation for state and local disaster emergency for Linn County because of the flooding damage that Linn County received due to the weekend storms. 

Hegwald said that each county has a threshold number that has to be met before they can be approved for emergency assistance, and Linn County’s is $45,100. He pointed out that the cost to repair one bridge would reach that amount. 

West showed a slide show of different locations, roadways and bridges that were going to need a lot of repair and replacement. He said that there was a lot of road scouring, rock loss and plugged culverts. 

A torrent of flood water boils as it flows over the roadway. Much of the damage to roads in floods happens on the downstream side because of the churning action of the water. (Linn County Public Works Department)

Some areas that are going to need repair are:

• Bridge north of Mound City that had previously received a cold patch repair. He said that the flooding water had taken part of the asphalt around the bridge abutments. 

• Roadway loss at 900 and Wattles roads. West reported that the maintainer was trying to do some work on the road over the weekend and the grader fell through the roadway because the water went over the top of the culvert and between the roadway surface and eroded out all the material in between. When the grader went over the top of it, one half of the back end of the grader fell into the hole.

• Bridge damage in the area of County Road 1095 just north of 1550 Road.

• Bridge on Ungeheuer Road just east of Pleasanton. The water has taken part of the road and damaged the sidewall to that approach. There is also significant guardrail loss or damage on the other side of the bridge. 

Commissioner Danny McCullough asked how the county would know if this kind of damage was in other areas also.

West said that there were many areas still underwater that could not be assessed until the water receded. He said that log jams would have to be cleared and the bridges examined. He said that some damage would be able to be seen but other damage would be noticed later by road graders.

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