Flooding may be starting to subside in parts of KELOLAND, but many roads remain closed.
And in some cases, they could stay that way for a while.
If you come across a barricade in Minnehaha County, it could be because a road is flooded or because it isn’t safe.
“In a normal flooding event, the water’s over the roads for 24 or 48 hours but this flooding event, being the way that it happened, there was water over the roads for a couple of weeks,” Minnehaha County highway superintendent DJ Buthe said.
A road closed may look fine to drive on, on the surface, but the causes for the closure may be lying underneath it.
“We have culvert crossings. The water can tear out the dirt around the culverts or the base course around the culverts and create big air voids or sink holes throughout the road bed, so when vehicles travel over the road it can collapse the road bed,” Buthe said.
Culverts can cause you and your vehicle to fall as little as three feet or even up to 10 feet.
“Driving through that, around those barricades, can really put yourself at danger. It can put law enforcement or rescue people at danger because if there is a collapse on the road when you drive past it, someone is going to have to come out and do a recovery or a save,” Buthe said.
Buthe says the Minnehaha County Highway Department will do some geotechnical testing.
“To see what kind of water levels are still in that saturated soil. And we’re going to be able to open the roads once that water comes out of that subsurface so that the road can be structurally sufficient,” Buthe said.
The Minnehaha County roads that are closed will remain that way until they are determined safe to drive on.