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home : news : local   April 29, 2016

4/20/2013 5:30:00 AM
Ottawa closes off neighborhood; Main Street bridge unusable


Don Maxon (left) receives a sandbag from Karl Norem on Friday at the wastewater treatment plant in Ottawa. The volunteers were two of many who were reinforcing the sandbags put down Thursday to barricade against a quickly rising river.NewsTribune photo/Genna Ord
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Don Maxon (left) receives a sandbag from Karl Norem on Friday at the wastewater treatment plant in Ottawa. The volunteers were two of many who were reinforcing the sandbags put down Thursday to barricade against a quickly rising river.
NewsTribune photo/Genna Ord
The Main Street bridge over the Fox River in Ottawa has been closed to access for potentially the next three days due to swelling water levels. NewsTribune photo/Genna Ord
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The Main Street bridge over the Fox River in Ottawa has been closed to access for potentially the next three days due to swelling water levels.
NewsTribune photo/Genna Ord
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Flooding at Allen Park in Ottawa
Kevin Caufield
NewsTribune Reporter



OTTAWA — A record-breaking flood in Ottawa forced authorities Friday to close off a small neighborhood and Ottawa Township High School for possibly the next three days or until flood water subsides to safer levels.

The neighborhood is located along the west bank of the Fox River and has only two access points. One at Green Street and the other on Main Street’s Fox River bridge.

At Green Street, the Fox River had nearly reached the bottom of speed limit signs and the flood banks were filled with debris ranging from Styrofoam coolers to floating picnic tables.

At the Fox River bridge police set up barricades and spent the morning warning nearby residents that the bridge would be completely closed off to all but emergency traffic. They also told residents that if the fast moving Fox River rises a couple more inches and makes contact with the metal I-beam bridge supports as expected that not even emergency vehicles would be allowed to cross.

Most residents, such as Eddie Wielgopolan, found family to stay with.

“I’m just grabbing a few things and getting out of here,” she said. “I’ll stay with some relatives.”

But others, such as Mike and Cindy Isenhower, decided to stay.

“All it’s going to do is turn our neighborhood into an island,” Cindy said.

“We still have power and enough food so we’ll be fine. Although, our son is at work so he won’t be able to come home.

Added Mike: “We’re pretty much on our own for the next three days. We’ll probably just watch movies and play ‘World of Warcraft.’”

However, police did allow OTHS administrators and employees to build a wall to protect some low areas from become inundated by flood water.

“They’re going to keep the bridge open as long as they can for us so we need to move quickly,” superintendent Matt Winchester said. “After that it’s wait and see. But I think we’ve got everything pretty well protected.”

Kevin Caufield can be reached at (815) 220-6932 or countyreporter@newstrib.com










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