A lot of roads have taken a beating from mother nature this year. Widespread flooding this spring and fall has kept road crews busy with repairs.
But one highway in particular that’s been affected by the flooding is Highway 81 south of Arlington. It’s been closed for months and that’s been bad for business.
“We had a lot of frustrated customers looking for different ways to get to where they’re going,” convenience store manager Kristi Ludwig said.
Kristi Ludwig is the manager of a convenience store in Arlington. She says they’ve lost business ever since the state closed Highway 81.
“But we probably would have more customers if the highway was open, so we’re all pretty anxious to get it,” Ludwig said.
And getting it done they are. Crews have been trying to raise the road since August. First they wanted to raise it by 15 inches, but that wasn’t enough.
Now they’re raising it again by another nine inches to hopefully avoid flooding in the future.
“So it’s been shut down fully since, I believe it was June, sometime in May or June, do the amount of water that was on the road,” project engineer Jordan Nelson said.
And it’s been a bumpy road too, due to consistent rain and strong winds, the completion of the project has been delayed.
“It seems like this year we’ve had nonstop moisture out here that we just keep fighting, as you can tell its another day to day, and the waves rolling so high that we’re just getting water everywhere,” Nelson said.
Ludwig says it’s not all bad news. When the state had to shut down I-90 due to flooding, she got flooded with business.
“I compared it to Fourth of July weekend, and it was unexpected and out of nowhere and it was great. It was great weekend for business, but yes it was all due to the flooding and rerouting people were on the way from Sioux Falls to Mitchell and ended up here so it was, it was kind of crazy,” Ludwig said.
They are hoping to have highway reopened by mid-November.