OCONTO – Two sections of washed-out roads may not be repaired for several weeks, according to Oconto County Highway Commission Brandon Hytinen.
The delay is expected to be in obtaining replacement culverts.
“We’re kind of at the mercy of suppliers right now,” he said.
Flooding on the evening of May 12, caused by heavy rain, resulted in numerous roads in mainly central Oconto County to be closed.
While official rain totals varied from around 2 to 4 inches, Emergency Management Director Jon Spice said some residents told him they received 8 to 10 inches in less than seven hours. Other reports had even higher rain totals.
“The amount of water that came was in such a short period of time, and it was so intense, the waterways were incapable of handling it,” Spice said.
That led to the roadways being eroded, leading to two sections of county highway collapsing.
On County B in the town of Spruce, the flood waters left a 20-foot gap in the pavement just north of Yatso Road.
The other is on County A in the town of Maple Valley.
“When I looked at (County A) on Friday morning, I estimated it at 50 feet wide,” he said. “I think it’s a little bit bigger than that now.”
Hytinen said a study is being done in both locations to determine what size of culvert is needed. He hopes that will be done this week, after which the culvert would be ordered.
Completing repairs on County B and County A is expected to take longer than on the third section, on Brock Road in the town of Maple Valley, where Spice said a section of blacktop is missing and significant erosion occurred around that culvert.
Repairs to the Brock Road section has not yet been scheduled, Hytinen said.
All three sections of the roadways remain closed:
County B, from westbound County A to westbound County M, in the town of Spruce, a stretch of 3 miles
County A, from Buseman Road to County G, town of Maple Valley, a stretch of 1½ miles.
Brock Road is closed from the beginning and end of Claywood Road.
Highway Department crews were kept busy in the days after the storm, making repairs in 73 locations, including rebuilding shoulders and removing debris from ditches.
“I think we were still gathering spots, because spots are still turning up, and they probably will continue to turn up,” he said.
Spice credited the Highway Department for “working endlessly” since the storm to make sue the roads are safe for motorists and that emergency vehicle could access every address in the county.
Spice also praised the efforts of the two dam managers — Joe LeBreck at Oconto Falls and Chuck Wellens in Stiles — saying they “played an instrumental role in helping make sure we got through this with a minimal amount of damage as possible.”
When it became clear that the rains would be heavy, LeBreck and Wellens initiated reservoir drawdowns, giving them some room to hold some of the flood water so it didn’t rush down to Oconto all at once, Spice explained.
There was some minor flooding, however, in Holtwood Campground in Oconto, he said.
“My hat is off (to them for) the amazing job they did in working with us to try to mitigate as much as this as we could,” Spice said.
The rushing water also hit affected farm fields, many of them recently planted, and sent an “an astronomical” amount of debris downstreams.
“It was quite the shock to see the amount of damage that can happen in such a short period of time,” Spice said.
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This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Repairs of two flood-damaged Oconto County roads may take several weeks