Jackson County bridges pose a threat - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Jackson County bridges pose a threat

The North Main Street bridge over the flooded river in Maquoketa The North Main Street bridge over the flooded river in Maquoketa

MAQUOKETA (KWWL) -- Officials are concerned the flooded Maquoketa River may have eroded bridge piers.

Since the Maquoketa River near Maquoketa crested early Monday morning, officials have shifted their focus from flood prevention to clean-up and damage control. At its highest point, the river reached a record 35.3 feet.

"Right now we're just going to ride it out," Jackson County emergency services coordinator Lyn Medinger said. "Then we're going to assess our damages...The flood waters are receding quite quickly, and, hopefully, by Wednesday night, Thursday morning, we're going to be below flood stage so we can go ahead and evaluate some of these bridges."

Medinger said some 69,000 cubic feet of water per second is passing under the Maquoketa River bridges.

"We're worried about undermining the bridge piers," Medinger said, "just undermining erosion."

Another problem is the amount of flooded farm fields.

"When we get this kind of flooding, most of it is agriculture ground," Medinger said.

At a meeting Wednesday, he and officials from the Farm Services Agency, among others, plan to meet and assess exactly how much damage the flooding has done to crops in the area.

Medinger said only a handful of people had to evacuate their homes.

Volunteers built up a sandbag wall Sunday afternoon near the intersection of Pershing Road and North Main Street in Maquoketa. It stood between the then-rising river and some crucial city buildings, including public works. At its highest point, however, Medinger said the flood water only hit about halfway up the wall.

Governor Culver visited Maquoketa Monday morning to survey the flood damage. He and local officials talked about watersheds and how this kind of flooding can be prevented in the future.

Online Reporter Becca Habegger

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