Austin Flood Project Underway, Closures Ahead

Created: 01/13/2014 6:40 PM
By: Dan Conradt

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- There are big changes coming for one of Austin's most heavily traveled streets.

"Water during the 2004 flood was about 4 feet deep right there on main street," said Austin city engineer Steven Lang.

And it's that part of town that's become the focus of Austin's on-going flood control efforts.

"We're raising the road two feet. We're building a two foot flood wall, and then we're providing three feet of bounce, which will be an invisible flood wall where we can install flood barriers during a high water event," city engineer Steven Lang explained.

"I think it's going to be very beneficial for the majority of the community, especially the downtown area," said Stephanie Riles at the Mower County Employees Credit Union.

And even in January, construction season is heating up.

"As they continue working north along main street they'll continue to install more barriers like you're currently seeing out there," city engineer Steven Lang told us. “Ultimately come may first of 2014 north main street will be closed for reconstruction, for the road raise."

It's a closure that's expected to last for about six months.

"They'll have to take another route around Hormel and come from the north side, so at least there's an alternate route, but it will cause a little bit of concern for us," the Mower County Eemployees Credit Union’s Stephanie Riles said. The building that houses the credit union is just down the street from the next phase of the flood control project ... and it's no stranger to flood water.

"About 3 or 4 feet up is where we've had some flood damage, and that was before it was the credit union."

And the hope is that ... sometime down the road ... numbers like that will be a thing of the past.

"Now that we're into the construction phase of it it's just a matter of having patients, knowing that there is an end in site and we'll be working to get to that project end," city engineer Steve Lang said.

This part of Austin's flood control project carries a 14.5 million dollar price tag.

It'll be funded through a combination of state and federal grant money, and a local option sales tax.