Snow and icy conditions halt flood cleanup

Recent snow is bringing flood cleanup to a screeching halt. Crews in Alexander County, Illinois, were waiting for a survey report on the Len Small Levee breach, but now all those flood fixes will have to wait.

The fresh layer of snow blanketing Alexander County is a sharp contrast to last week, when floodwaters covered roads and fields. County highway worker David Stevens used his grader for scraping mud and sand off roads just last week, but Thursday it’s plowing snow.

"You would think we would still be hauling sandbags or something like that, but Mother Nature delivered this. So, now we have to do this. We go from one extreme to the next," said Stevens.

County crews are busy spending the day cleaning the snow and ice off roads. 

"Yeah, we’ve pretty much stopped all that (flood cleanup) right now until we get done with this, and then I’m sure we’ll be back at it,” Stevens said.

County Engineer Jeff Denny says snow is blocking roads they were just starting to be able to access again.

"I mean, we just pretty well got all the roads back open, and then (we’re) right back into the snow and dealing with all that mess," said Denny.

Flood damage roadblocks have made it impossible for plows to get in or let people reach their homes in some places. With potentially more snow Friday, Denny says they’re stuck in limbo.

"Flooding in the winter just further complicates a bad situation," Denny said.

They’re hoping for warmer days to melt the snow, so they can get back to just worrying about flood repairs

Alexander County is expecting sonar survey results from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the Len Small Levee breach that will help guide them on repairs. 

The county is one of 34 to submit flood damage estimates in to the state in hopes of qualifying for federal assistance from FEMA. A final analysis from the state is expected next week.

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