OTTAWA — La Salle County Emergency Management Agency officials are preparing to file paperwork required for a federal emergency declaration.
Officials and volunteers at the La Salle County Emergency Operations Center in Ottawa were compiling a growing, one-inch thick stack of forms detailing basic information on thousands of properties within the county that received flood damage.
“Right now, it’s just preliminary data that we’re compiling,” explained La Salle County Emergency Management Agency deputy director Fred Moore. “Once we get this list together, we’ll file it with FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and hopefully the president will declare La Salle County a national disaster site because we need the help.”
Meanwhile, county work crews cleared debris from county roads where floodwaters have receded.
La Salle County EMA public information officer Diane Logsdon said she was unaware of any roads or bridge structures that were permanently or moderately damaged by floodwater in the county.
“It’s still too early to tell for certain,” Logsdon said. “We’re currently assessing all damage within the county but we have not received any information on roads and bridges.”
La Salle County Highway Department engineer Larry Kinzer said most of the floodwater damage has occurred to culverts and road shoulders on township roads. One example is a large 14-foot wide culvert along Canal Road between Ottawa and Marseilles.
“We’ve got a lot of locations on the township system where culverts and road shoulders received damage and some erosion control issues,” Kinzer said. “We’re currently inspecting everything that has been affected.”
Route 351 update
Route 351 in La Salle remains closed and city officials are unsure when it may open. The road received severe damage from floodwaters and there is no timetable on when it may reopen.
The Village of Bureau breathed a sigh of relief from the many inches of rain received last week. Officials said the village was fortunate compared with other towns in the county.
Bureau superintendent for Public Works Adam Shipp said there was standing water on the outskirts of town, but none within its limits. He said the Hennepin lock 2 was underwater near the very southeast part of town, but no houses were underwater.
“We didn’t have any sewer back up,” Shipp said. “And other than water coming down hills at a high rate of speed creating a mess that way on our roads, we didn’t have any wash outs in our streets.”
Bureau County Highway Department crews are continuing to repair washout areas and removing debris from ditches. BCHD Engineer John Gross said there were several washouts throughout the county and have been repaired already. There are no spots in Bureau County, he said, that show any threat or danger for drivers.
Gross said he is waiting for water to recede in order fully assess damaged roads and bridges. By that time he will have a cost amount of road damage to the county. The county is in clean up mode right now.
Gross recommends staying off of road shoulders because they are still soft from all the water.
Ed Andrews, Marshall and Putnam County engineer, said damage from the flood was still being assessed and repaired in Marshall and Putnam counties on Wednesday.
“I have three different two-man teams out right now,” he said. “We do have varying levels of impact and damage.”
In Marshall County, one team was assessing the east side of the county, while another concentrated on the west side.
“The worst of the worst (damage) was Marshall County east,” Andrews said.
One bridge, in Richland Township in southern Marshall County, was a total loss.
“It was our last remaining pony truss bridge,” he said.
Other bridges affected by the flood in Marshall County are being repaired, he said.
The Sandy Creek area also had a pronounced road washout, according to Andrews.
“Putnam County had a substantial culvert washout,” Andrews said, adding it was on 1250 North in the Granville area.
Andrews said damage is still being assessed and at this point he doesn’t have a cost estimate of the damage.