One county road closed, another closePublished 11:10am Tuesday, April 5, 2011
As the above freezing temperatures melt away the snow, one by one, vulnerable roads in Otter Tail County are succumbing to high water.
This morning, the Highway Department closed County Highway 7, in Western Township, to through traffic. It was discovered that a culvert had washed out under the road, which connects county highways 2 and 26 in the southwestern corner of the county. A detour route is still being decided on, but West said the department may reroute traffic onto County Highway 1.
Just how long County Highway 10 can remain open near Lein Lake, five miles west of Elizabeth and a short distance from Carlisle, depends upon Mother Nature the next few days. For the time being, the road is passable, even with water covering the highway.
“This could change in the next few days,” said County Engineer Rick West late Monday afternoon. “We’re monitoring the water levels on a daily basis. Safety, as always, is our number one priority for travel along Highway 10. Safety will also be the main factor in any decision about road closing.”
Roadway signs warn approaching vehicles, heading west or east, about the high water near Lein Lake. Law enforcement personnel urge drivers to slow down and use extreme caution.
On the east side of Elizabeth, also along Highway 10 as the road heads toward County Highway 27, water from a nearby slough is getting precariously close to the highway. As of Monday afternoon, however, no water was on the roadway less than a mile from Highway 27.
Just south of Lein Lake is Oscar Lake. Water from that lake eventually reaches Wilkin County. An underground outlet is closed until the end of the spring thaw.
Over the past several weeks West and members of the Otter Tail County Board have had to deal with not only concerns from Wilkin County residents but also upstream concerns in Otter Tail County. At the center of the conversations is Oscar Lake. Water released naturally, due to high water, runs into Ditch 2 and eventually ends up in Wilkin County. A culvert was installed previously to protect upstream interests.
In January Otter Tail County and Wilkin County agreed to jointly coordinate placement of rocks as part of a riprap erosion blanket at the outlet of Oscar Lake.