Storms ravage roads in southeast Minnesota
RED WING — Goodhue County Public Works Director Greg Isakson painted a rather grim picture Tuesday when providing a flooding update to the county board after storms in recent days.
"We're hoping this thing turns into a FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) event and we get reimbursement funds," he said.
Portions of the county were hit by up to 10 inches of rain last week. Another two-plus inches fell onto the already drenched countryside Monday night, with additional storms expected most of this week.
Damage estimates remain unclear, but travel in and around the rural Cannon Falls area remains tricky. Highway 19 was already closed for repairs, and Goodhue County Road 7 was badly damaged by the flood.
"Our biggest area (of concern) is County Road 7," he said. "We have three locations … where we have some real serious damage."
About 40 feet of retaining wall near Welch was wiped out by the water and another 40 feet is "ready to tumble at any time." Three dikes on the county road were "taken out" between Welch and Vasa, along with 150 feet of the road's shoulder. Farther down the hill, Isakson said that "basically the entire shoulder and basically the entire southbound lane is gone."
The Welch Mill Canoeing & Tubing operation on County 7 has also been shut down as the Cannon River has been deemed unsafe after reaching the 20-foot level.
"You can't go between Vasa and Welch right now," Isakson said. "I feel sorry for the people who live on Highway 41, because the state already shut down Highway 19. We want to get that road open as soon as we can."
With additional storms predicted this week, county employees are working overtime to simply ensure citizens have road access once the waters recede.
"What we're working on (Tuesday) is defense," Isakson said. "If we get the storms they're talking about, (County Road 7) could just be gone."