Alexander County crews find extreme damage to area near levee breach
The sound of floodwaters pouring over Alexander County, Illinois, roads filled the air near Miller City just two days ago. But for the first time since the Len Small Levee broke, Miller City Road is now open to first responders surveying the damage.
Water pouring over this county road Friday is turning asphalt in to a waterfall from flood waters pouring from the Mississippi River. Alexander County Engineer Jeff Denny says this road used to run nine miles, but he believes much of it has washed away by now.
"Yeah, there’s not going to be much of some of those township roads left at all," said Denny.
This is the first time the floodwaters have been low enough that Denny and his crew have been able to safely get in to the area and see the damage along Miller City Road.
"This is a lot worse than I’ve seen before. I mean, 2011 was not this big of a mess. I think we had a lot more current this time," Denny said.
This garage sitting along the side of the road was carried away by the river, taking it more than a mile before dumping it on the road. Other sheds and buildings litter fields and roadways nearby. Thick mud fills driveways, and beaches of sand now sit heavy on lawns and fields. Irrigation systems are flipped over, bent with entire trees surrounding the machines. Trees have been pulled out and carried away, roots and all.
Denny says just driving around here is a hazard.
"Lots of debris and lots of mud, sand in the road. It’s just a pretty big mess," Denny said.
Road graders are already cleaning the muck off the roads, picking it up as thick as if it were a snowplow. But getting it off the roads is necessary for families to be able to come home by car instead of by boat. Denny says the damage they’re seeing now is extreme and far from over. With more roads still covered by deep flood waters, the worst may still be yet to come.
Repairing the roads destroyed by the flooding could take months, if not years.