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Spring Flooding May Push Back County’s Paving Schedule

With another spring of serious flooding predicted, Ste. Genevieve County’s commissioners are not optimistic about getting a lot of roads paved this year.

“We’ve spent a significant amount of money on roads for no paving,” Presiding Commissioner Garry Nelson lamented, referring to preparation work done on county roads. “If it floods like it has the last two years, we’ll have to face the facts that we’re not going to get paved what we thought we were.”

The commissioners have set 20 miles of roads to be paved as its annual goal in recent years. The closest it has been was 2018, when a little less than 19 miles was paved.

Gillespie and Saline Creek roads have undergone considerable preparation work and would be paving priorities along with Coffman Road.

Magnolia Hollow Road, though, would take top priority, since state money should be available to help pay for the paving near the Magnolia Hollow Conservation Area and deadlines would  be in place in order to collect those funds.

“I want to be optimistic, but I can’t be optimistic,” Nelson said. “We have to do maintenance work, and we have to rehab roads when it floods.”

Floods have knocked the county road and bridge department off of its schedule in recent years.

The National Weather Service earlier this month issued its first spring 2020 flood outlook, suggesting that the potential for flood stage to be reached is above normal. The agency said a wet fall set the stage and that wet soil conditions remain across a large portion of the upper Midwest. A substantial snowpack was reported in the upper Mississippi River watershed.

The National Weather Service projects a high chance of minor flooding, above normal chance of flooding in each category and low chance of peak severity.

“I don’t think it will be a money problem,” Nelson said. “I think it will be a time problem.”

See complete story in the February 26 edition of the Herald.

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