Thursday, October 18, 2018

Wet and wild weather affects roads across the state

Last week the state of Kansas experienced two extremes — flooding and snow in October. Highways in several counties were closed for various periods of times, and KDOT crews were there to assist with traffic control. Here are a few areas affected by floodwaters.

Crews from KDOT-Fort Scott use a snowplow to swab cornstalks and other debris away
 from the flooded roadway on K-31 west of Fulton.

South east Kansas
Heavy rainfall led to flooded and closed highways at several locations in southeast Kansas during the week of Oct. 8. K-31 west of Fulton and K-65 in Bourbon County were barricaded, and the permanent floodgates were closed at the flooded section of K-152 in Linn County.

The sun sets on a flooded section of K-65 in Bourbon County.

Early last week, the U.S. 169 exit ramp from U.S. 54 was closed because of water standing at its base. In addition, KDOT crews flagged traffic through shallow flood waters on U.S. 54 at the U.S. 169/U.S. 54 junction. The town of Erie experienced significant flooding, although U.S. 59 remained open. KDOT crews from Erie and Chanute assisted Neosho County and the City of Erie in flagging and making repairs at the Neosho River levee at Erie.

Flooding at the base of the U.S. 169 on-ramp from
U.S. 54 resulted in a brief closure to traffic.

North east Kansas

The flooding of the Cottonwood river south of Emporia prompted the closure of K-99 last week. 

Several closures occurred as a result of floodwaters in north east Kansas. 

One of the areas affected was near Emporia. Last week's rain lasted approximately three days and resulted in flash flooding in the Dow Creek/Neosho River flood plain just north of the city. This caused KDOT crews to close K-99 between I-35 and 240 Rd. The highway was closed for nearly 24 hours last Tuesday and Wednesday. 

During the same weather period, the Cottonwood River began to rise past flood stage. Last Wednesday, just after opening K-99 north of Emporia, KDOT had to close K-99 south of the. This flood event was slow to recede and the highway was closed approximately two days. 

During the flooding closure, KDOT, Lyon County and KTA officials worked together on a local detour that allowed locals who lived south of town to get to their jobs and home again. This was achieved through signed detours on county roads and over to a temporary gate on the KTA.  The KTA didn't charge users for this temporary detour. KDOT crews manned the closure point on K-99 and gave instructions to vehicles passing in the area. 

Other areas affected by floodwater on the highways:
K-9 and K-87 near Vliets - This area is prone to flooding, as the Black Vermillion and North Fork Black Vermillion rivers converge there.

K-5 closed in Leavenworth County where Sevenmile Creek crosses the highway.  That area also is prone to flooding after heavy (or prolonged) rainfall

K-7 was closed in Doniphan county, north of White Cloud, as the Missouri River rose high enough to cover the surface of the highway.

North central Kansas
A highway outside of Minneapolis is covered in water.
High waters and flooding occurred in parts of north central Kansas on Oct. 9. K-14 in Ellsworth County was closed for eight miles during the day and one mile overnight as water covered the road in several areas. Ellsworth County also experienced flooded roadways on K-111 and traffic was flagged for two hours until roads were drivable. Saline County had a lane closure for a few hours on K-140 due to water over the road at the bridge by mile marker 22.

South central Kansas
Drone Footage of U.S. 81 north of the K-55 Junction in south central Kansas. Photo by KDOT employee, AJ Wilson
Flooding closed several highways in south central Kansas. KDOT crews on the evening of Oct. 8 began flagging U.S. 281 in Barton County from the bridge over Blood Creek to south of the Hoisington city limit. KDOT later closed the road to traffic. U.S. 281 was opened to traffic on Oct. 10.

Crews flagged K-2 from about two miles east of the U.S. 281 junction to just west of Kiowa as well.
Crews began flagging K-14 north and south of the city of Lyons on Tuesday and later closed the highway south of Lyons. K-14 reopened Friday.

In Sumner County, flooding closed U.S. 81 for about a six-mile stretch from the K-55 intersection to the Sumner/Sedgwick county line. Crews also closed K-55 for a 2.5-mile stretch from U.S. 81 to the Belle Plaine city limit. Those roads reopened Friday.

Flood waters over K-55 west of Belle Plaine.

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