Now that the worst of flooding is over, repairs begin

90th Street, outside Ottumwa, will be closed at least through the summer for repairs.

Now that the flood waters from last week's heavy rain has settled down across much of Southeast Iowa, Wapello County can concentrate on repairs.

Two of Ottumwa's worst-hit areas, 90th Street, where the culvert was completely washed away, and 118th Avenue, where the bridge is down to one lane, are major projects that will take at least a year to complete. Jerry Parker, of the Wapello County Board of Supervisors, said both areas will likely be closed through the summer, if not longer.

The other areas of damage have resulted in two to three weeks of work. The county is working on reclaiming rock that was pushed off the road, clearing brush and trees from the culverts and bridges and eliminating the secondary ditches created by a large amount of water running downhill.

For now, Wapello County Secondary Roads is handling all repairs, but because the Natural Resources Conservation Service declared the rains a 50-100-year storm, there is a prospect for grant money.

"We, the county supervisors, have declared this to be a disaster," Parker said. "That doesn't get us any money yet unless the state and thee federal people agree with us that, yes, this was a disaster. But already, like I said, NRCS has determined it's between a 50 and 100 year storm, which means there is some money available for work related to the storm."

As for flood levels, the National Weather Service reported the Des Moines River at an 11-foot flood stage as of late Monday afternoon.