Parts of Wisconsin On Road to Recovery Following Severe Flooding
The estimated damage for the area is more than $8 million and Bayfield County suffered the most damage.
Mason, Wis. – A little over two weeks ago parts of Wisconsin were hit with severe flooding, that caused millions of dollars in damage.
Many people in Ashland, Bayfield and Iron County are now looking ahead to see how they can get back on track.
Not too long ago the sun wasn’t shining and you couldn’t see the green grass on State Senator Janet Bewley’s (D-Ashland) home in Bayfield County.
Her front yard was underwater and water from the white river was overflowing toward her property.
“The water came to right about here,” said Bewley. “I mean it was all over.”
She was ultimately trapped in her home for 12 hours.
Although that experience is behind her for now, State Senator Bewley says the constant flooding is a recurring problem that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.
“We need long–term transportation funding,” said Bewley. “The inability to withstand floods and to have to deal with 100 year floods over and over and over again means that we need an increase in regular funding for our roads from the state.”
The road to recovery will be a long one and will cost millions of dollars.
“From what we’re understanding the threshold we have to reach for the four county area is going to be about $8.3 million, but we believe we have exceeded that once you add up the damage estimates from all of the counties,” said Bewley.
U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) is among those hoping for an emergency declaration by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and a federal emergency declaration by President Donald Trump for this area.
“We’re dealing with roads that are already deteriorating before they have to withstand a flood,” said Bewley.
City of Mason Road Supervisor George Koval may be pushing 80 years old but he isn’t slowing down, knowing he still has a lot of work to do.
He was out this afternoon working on a bank that needed a ditch which was washed out in the storm.
Mason, Wisconsin, is a small town with a population of about 200. Most of the damaged roads like this one are washed out and closed to traffic.
The town has six culverts in total and workers expect to have them replaced and repaired by August.
“We have four in the one on Benoit road, we started last Friday,” said Koval. “We got halfway up and we hopefully will have gravel on that one Tuesday by noon.”
A lot of the damage in Mason, stems from these culverts, which allow water to flow under a road.
The town has 45 miles of road and only 10 percent of them are currently open.
Even though it’s inconvenient taking alternate routes that mean a longer commute, it’s necessary.
“People that always drive one road just drive one road, they don’t know another road, so when one washes out they don’t know which way to go,” said Koval. “So we’re telling people you got to go here, follow the signs.”
You’re advised to be careful when driving in this area and pay attention to the signs because the water is likely deeper than you think leading to potential danger.
One person died while driving down a flooded road during the storms.