Dayton Meets with Emergency Managers in Flooded Cities

Updated: 06/25/2014 7:38 AM
Created: 06/24/2014 5:31 PM
By: Brandi Powell

Gov. Mark Dayton toured more Minnesota cities on Tuesday discussing how to clean up and repair all of the damage from the recent flooding.

One of the governor's stops was in Belle Plaine, which is a few miles north of Blakeley, a town completely cut off by the flooding.

In Chaska, state and local leaders had to cross a make-shift bridge to get to the groundbreaking for a new, four-lane Highway 101 bridge, which is slated to go over the Minnesota River and flood plane.

Officials said 20,000 cars and trucks go across Highway 101 everyday. When it's flooded, vehicles are detoured, and it costs taxpayers approximately $700,000 a day.

While high water isn't a problem in Belle Plaine, city leaders didn't shy away from talking with Dayton about the unintended consequences with which they're struggling.

"How can we manage traffic through a small community in a flood situation?" asked Belle Plaine Public Works Superintendent Alan Fahey.

In nearby Blakeley, the Kerkow family cannot get back inside their home long-term; Rachelle Kerkow has only been back inside her home twice, accompanied by emergency officials.

"There are still trees in the streets, part of road - gone, water across roads, power lines laying along side of you as you drive - just complete wreckage on that road like I've never seen," Kerkow said.

Her daughter, Bailey, says, "Our dad keeps telling us we'll be, and the home will still be there."

Bailey and her brother Colton put their hands and feet in the mud to leave indelible marks, remembering what matters most to them - family.

The governor hasn't ruled out a special legislative session if available state emergency aid runs out. He says a federal disaster request is coming together and he plans to personally lobby President Barack Obama during a visit to Minnesota this week.
Dayton plans to head north Wednesday to Warroad.

The Associated Press Contributed to this report.

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