Another area highway has reopened after floodwaters began to recede. MnDOT District 7 operations manager Jed Falgren said Highway 4 north of St. James is back open to traffic as of Thursday and Wednesday they were able to reopen Highway 30 east of Mapleton.
Last night Falgren said the Highway 99 Minnesota River Bridge at St. Peter was shut down after an ice dam broke loose and caused a rapid rise in the water level.
“I just happened to swing through the area after I saw a couple of pictures online about the ice jam south of St. Peter,” he explained, “And, sure enough, when that ice jam released the water came up in the St. Peter area about two feet between 5:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. and it was actually almost a full foot just between 7:00 and 8:00.”
Several other area highways remain closed Thursday. He said they include, “Highway 99 in St. Peter; Highway 93 from (U.S. Highway) 169 into Le Sueur; Highway 93 from 169 into Henderson; and Highway 19 from 169 into Henderson.”
Falgren added that he’s been in frequent contact with the National Weather Service and the agency is keeping a close watch on a couple of ice jams that could be problematic. He said there is, “One between Courtland and New Ulm that they were aware of and…one in New Ulm at the Cottonwood River. Either that ice is going to melt or need to move downstream and hopefully in the next few days that will all break up and the river will become a little more normal and predictable.”
Once the water does pull back and the flood threat comes to an end, Falgren said they will have a lot of work ahead of them.
“Anytime the roads go under, Mother Nature is pretty powerful,” he said, “Now these are areas that traditionally have flooded before so we have done some specialized armoring of the shoulders and the slopes to help reduce that amount of damage but it always does take a certain amount of cleanup. When the water does go down we’re going to find trees and other debris on the roadway; we’re going to have to get that cleared off and then rebuild the shoulders.”
Falgren continues to remind drivers not to put their safety – and maybe their lives – at risk by skirting the barricades on any closed roads.