WDAY: The News Leader

Published November 18, 2010, 08:25 AM

Otter Tail County engineers worried about flooded roads this spring

(WDAY TV) - Snow isn't even on the ground yet, but some Otter Tail County engineers are worried about flooded roads next spring. With an already saturated soil, Otter Tail County Engineer Rick West is concerned about what just an average winter snow fall could mean for drivers next spring.

Rick West: "We're in a situation where a lot of the storage that we had available, some of these wet lands and lakes, right now there is no storage left."

Right now West is worried about 12 different roadways throughout the county, including Highway 10 just west of Elizabeth. A stretch of road that has already been closed for extended periods of time in the past.

West: "Right now it's over top the outlet structure that's running overland. So will we have problems at County 10 in the spring? Probably."

Several people I spoke with say water levels are as high as they've ever seen them and closed roadways next spring would be a huge inconvenience.

Richard Lewis: "And that would cause me not to get mail delivery because my mail comes west out of Elizabeth down that road, and then just south down the first township here."

The cost of fixing roadways can vary from a couple hundred thousand dollars to more than a million. Money that, right now, the county can't afford to spend on 12 different projects.

West: "You really have to start setting priorities of which roadways are going to receive the attention to put them back in service and which ones may have to wait six months, may have to wait a year."

Last week, the county finished work on Highway 88, which West said will now be safe to drive during the spring months.