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Another wet spring

By Staff | Feb 26, 2010

The good news is winter is nearing its final weeks on the calendar, but the bad news is it may linger in the form of overland flooding come spring.

Pierce County officials are aware of the threat of flooding and the potential damage it could cause to roads and culverts.

“Yeah, it’s going to be an issue again,’ said David Migler, fifth district county commissioner. “Looking out in the fields I’d say we have just as much snow as last year. One good thing, though, is we replaced several culverts last year and that should help with drainage.”

Bigger culverts

A number of 16 or 18-inch culverts were replaced with 24-inch ones. Joe Bohl, first district commissioner, said the commission worked with the water board to determine just where those new culverts should go.

“Some of those culverts replaced ones that were likely put in when the road was built many years ago,’ Bohl said. “It was time to upgrade that infrastructure.”

It was FEMA funds which allowed the county to spend approximately $90,000 on culvert replacement. Last year, Pierce was one of many counties that received state and federal disaster assistance because of flooding.

It’s too early to tell just how widespread flooding will be this spring and a lot depends on the spring melt. “The key is getting a slow, steady thaw,’ Bohl said.

Another promising sign is the ground doesn’t appear to be as saturated as a year ago.

Migler said blade operators he’s visited with have noticed the ground isn’t frozen completely in some areas and that may allow more water to soak into the ground this spring, and less going across fields.

A year ago Pierce County received nearly $900,000 in federal and state aid to make necessary repairs, according to Karin Fursather, county auditor.

Nearly every township had some reported damage with the majority in the southern end of the county. Some rural residents were blocked from getting to their farmsteads, or forced to drive extra miles to reach them due to sections of roads underwater.

In addition to the replaced culverts, some roads have been repaired, but there is still a sheet of maintenance work left to do, and that list may grow longer if there is more damage caused this spring from flooding.

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