Flooding

The only road in Dickinson County still closed because of flooding is Jeep Road, south of 2200 Avenue, according to Brad Homman, Dickinson County administrator, on Monday.

But people should still use caution when driving county and township roads, he said.

The water peeled asphalt and washed gravel out along the shoulders. It chewed up and spat out a 10-foot section of asphalt along 1400 Avenue between Rural Center and Navarre. That road has been narrowed to one lane, he said.

Shoulders were washed out from 6 to 7 inches to as much as a couple of feet along the asphalt, Homman said. Unfortunately, some of those shoulders were ones the county had just finished building up with 600 tons of gravel after the last major flood in mid-May.

Homman doesn’t yet know the damage to the county’s gravel roads. Paved roads are the priority, he said and there just hasn’t been time to assess the gravel roads yet.

“Especially today, they’re swamped,” he said of the road and bridge department after the weekend and the Fourth of July holiday.

The county had seven to eight people working overtime and over July 4 to flag roads and keep people safe, he said. On Saturday crews cleared a tree that had fallen across Old Highway 40 near Eden Road.

The county maintains about 100 miles of paved roads and 200 miles of gravel roads. The 24 townships are responsible for maintaining the other 1,500 miles of gravel and dirt roads, Homman said.

May flood

For the May flood, the county spent almost $100,000 the first time around for sandbags and repair.

Homman said he expects the bill could be less this time since the sandbags weren’t needed this time, but it could be well over $50,000.

Whatever the bill, “it will be substantial, bigger than a breadbox,” he said.

The county was part of a state disaster declaration on May 20 and again this time, along with a federal disaster declaration. Homman is keeping track of expenses and damages in the hopes the county is reimbursed 70-80 percent.

Even so, the road and bridge department is going to be out a chunk of change, even paying 20 percent, and crews will spend time on repairs instead of some of the road projects planned.

If there is good news, it’s that even with more rain in the forecast for Monday and today, Smoky Hill River levels are expected to keep falling.

Homman was monitoring river levels. About 5:30 p.m. Saturday, he measured the Smoky Hill near Abilene at 26.9 feet. By 10 a.m. Sunday, it had fallen to 20.2 feet.

The river crested at 29.6 feet Saturday with minor flood stage at 27 feet. It’s forecast to be only about 17 feet today.

Contact Jean Bowers at reporter2@abilene-rc.com.

Contact Tim Horan at editor@abilene-rc.com.

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