Rising water closes 3 of 4 routes into Henderson

Rising water closes 3 of 4 routes into Henderson

Rising water closes 3 of 4 routes into Henderson

Minnesota River levels continued to rise Tuesday. In Henderson, three out of four roads into town were closed, and Mayor Keith Swenson expects it to last for weeks.

Flood gates were erected just after 5 p.m., blocking water-covered Highway 93 and Highway 19. County Road 6 on the north edge of town was also blocked by road closure signs.

Henderson is anticipating another 3 feet of water before it levels off, Mayor Swenson said.

It’s a city that has holding flood waters back down to a science.

Local high schoolers James Petsch and JT Bisek spent the morning hauling sandbags in preparation.
It’s something that’s virtually second nature for some Henderson high schoolers.

“It’s nice to be able to go home at the end of the day and say you helped take care of the city and put it up,” Bisek said.

The end result, around 6 p.m., was an aluminum wall covered with a layer of plastic, which was held down by sandbags.

“Every year, it happens. I think in the last 10 years I’ve lived here, we haven’t had to do it maybe one time,” Petsch shared.

“We just do it repeatedly,” Swenson said, adding Tuesday’s closure of Hwy 93 was the third this spring.

“The problem we really have is not property damage anymore because, basically, time and attrition have moved people out of the floodplain,” Swenson said.

Instead, the impact is economic, “and I think it’s about $63,000 a day,” he said. “Nobody comes to town. Businesses lose money, and commuters… pay for it because they’ve got an extra 35-40 miles to commute.”

Other areas have also been hit by the flooding.

In Brown County, high waters shut down County Road 18 over the weekend. A mudslide in Courtland — cleared in the last day or two — made Highway 68 a mess.

Meanwhile, Swenson says he hopes a Minnesota Department of Transportation plan to elevate Highway 93 will help.

“The highway will come into town about 7 feet higher and taper off down into this road, which will make it an all-season road,” he says.

Swenson says work on the project could begin as early as the fall.

The mayor says the wall will remain in place until the water recedes.

No one is sure how long that will take — perhaps days or weeks, Swenson says.

Moderate flooding is expected in the area by this Friday.

For now, the wall is the town’s best defense against all that water.

Pam Pertz, who recently moved out of the flooded areas along Highway 93, says putting the barrier up Tuesday only took about a half-hour.

“They moved along really fast and got the job done and seemed to know what they were doing,” she notes. “When they said they’re putting a wall up, I had no concept of what this is. This is very interesting — didn’t know they did this anymore.”

Flooding closes roads throughout Henderson

Flooding closes roads throughout Henderson