UPDATE: Several township roads reopen in Reno County

By: KAKE News Email
By: KAKE News Email
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HUTCHINSON, Kan.-- Reno County townships are working to reopen roads that were flooded last week.

At least five roads have reopened northwest of Hutchinson.

"These township roads are all gravel, dirt, or sand," said Todd Strain, Reno County Emergency Management Specialist. "When it washes across, it leaves a lot of ruts and divots, a lot of rumblings from where the water ran across."

Crews will have to wait until the roads are dry to plow or grade back down. Then, they can bring sand and gravel to pack it down.

In addition, Reno County Public Works will work on fixing the bridge on 69th Street between Wilson and Pennington. They expect the road work to be completed by the end of next week.

High water from recent rains has closed some roads in Reno County as leaders prepare for more possible flooding.

"My concern is the water is not receding and it is going to continue rising," Reno County Sheriff Randy Henderson said.

The current road closures are all northwest of Hutchinson. Reno County Emergency Management updated the list Friday afternoon.

95th is closed from Dean to Sallee
Sallee is closed from 82nd to 95th
Wilson is closed from 69th to 82nd
69th is closed from Wilson to Pennington
Pennington Road is closed from Nickerson Blvd to 43rd
43rd is closed from Pennington to Hendricks
50th is closed from Pennington to Wilson
Wilson is closed from 82nd to 95th
95th is closed from Sallee to Wilson
Sallee is closed from 95th to 108th
Pennington is closed from 56th to 69th

"We do expect that to continue (through the weekend) and even have more roads closed as the water comes down from Rice County," said Todd Strain, Reno County Emergency Management Specialist.

Strain says the there is already a lot of moisture in the ground and Cow Creek has already surged over its banks so there isn't a place for the additional water to go.

"If they get more rain up north, we're going to see more. If we get more here we are going to start backing up from the (Little) Arkansas and Cow (Creek) and then we are going to have even more problems," Strain said.

One of the biggest potential problems they are concerned about is the danger posed to drivers by the rising waters. Sheriff Henderson urged drivers to "turn around, don't drown" if they reach an area of high water.

"If you come to standing water don't take a chance," Henderson said.

Henderson says last summer when there was similar flooding, many people did not heed the warnings.

"The roads were closed and people were determined they were going to drive through them and they ended up getting washed out in the fields. It becomes very dangerous for them and for those rescuers," Henderson said.

Henderson says if people are caught driving down closed roads, they face a ticket and fine.

"You're driving at your own risk and unfortunately that risk goes to the rescue teams if you get swept off the road," Henderson said. "We do not have good water rescue equipment in Reno County, if you can't get to it in a 4-wheel drive or fire truck, we're in trouble because we don't have access to a lot of boats."

Emergency managers say most of the areas that are flooded have been problem areas in the past and should not come as a surprise to drivers. They say drivers just need to be careful.

"Be aware (flood water) is likely going to rise and spread," Strain said.

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