Flooding Washes Away Roads in Carlton County

$80,000 in damage has been assessed so far, with some townships still calculating damage

CLEAR CREEK TOWNSHIP, Minn. – Multiple roads are washed out and closed in Carlton County, including County Road 8, which also washed out during last year’s flooding.

Stony Brook rose feet in a matter of hours, carrying the entire gravel road downstream.

“When you get it that quickly it has no place to go slow,” said Milt Hagen the Assistant County Engineer of Carlton County. “It goes fast and it tends to overpower the roadways.”

A temporary fix put in place here after the 2018 flood washed away again Monday morning, just weeks before a FEMA-funded project is set to permanently replace the culvert.

“This is probably a forty-eight inch diameter pipe, explained Hagen. “It can’t handle those types of storm flows. The structure that’s going to go in here is an eight by ten box culvert, about twice the depth, probably four or five times the water carrying capacity.”

Hagen tells us bigger fixes are needed with strong storms happening much more frequently in recent years.

“When we had the 2012 event we thought that’s a once in a five hundred year event and yet we had another one in 2016, we had another one in 2018, and we have this one in 2019,” he said.

So far, $80,000 in damage has been assessed county-wide, but some townships are still figuring out how much damage there is.

Hagen reminds drivers to never drive over water-covered roads, but to call 911 so crews can respond.

“When you see that little bit of water going across the road, as it gets deeper you don’t know what’s happening to the roadway underneath,” he explained. “It could be washing it out and if you try and drive through it, you’ll drop your car into it.”

Carlton County officials say they will work to reopen the closed roads in the next several weeks.

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