WDAY: The News Leader

Published March 15, 2010, 08:43 AM

Crews act quickly to get dikes up on county roads

Wilkin County, Minn. (WDAY TV) - Almost overnight, overland flooding has put a major Wilkin County road in jeopardy. The Red River here in Breckenridge isn't a major concern yet today, but rushing overland waters are putting main arteries into the city and some homes a little too close to danger.

The work is swift, deliberate, and precise. County and state highway crews, as well as a couple helpful farmers, plowed and piled sand about a foot high dike along highway 210 just a mile east of Breckenridge.

TOM RICHELS/WILKIN COUNTY HIGHWAY ENGINEER: "If it does come across, it goes directly into the city."

Wilkin County's highway manager Tom Richels is overseeing the organized chaos. He says this job is a new one: they haven't had to protect this main artery in 13 years.

"It could run in here 6 or 8 inches deep."

The biggest concern is the city; it's not even a mile from here. But the next most important are these homes sitting in some 45-hundred acres of lake. The spot to keep an eye on? Ice jams building along the mouth of the diversion. If they plug up, these waters could possibly have to add more sand to these lines of defense.

So far, Richels says the other two dikes they've built like the one on highway 210 have worked out and that the water's come down off the dikes. Right now, they're hoping those jams don't plug anything up.

Clay County

A handful of families in Clay County have already evacuated their homes. Most of them are doing so as a precaution, so they aren't stranded later.

The county has more than 30 rural roads underwater. The sheriff is reminding people to not go past any barricades. He says you will get a ticket if they have to come rescue you.

“We don't see so much of it that closed yet because it hasn't got here, but you can see water for miles.”

Bergquist is asking people who don't live on the county roads to stay away.