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Mudslide closes highway ‘several days’

Published On: Jun 24 2013 12:20:14 PM CDT   Updated On: Jun 24 2013 08:41:50 PM CDT
Monday morning mudslide on Highway 61

Monday morning mudslide on Highway 61

BOSCOBEL, Wis. -

A mudslide brought on by recent rains will keep Highway 61 north of the Boscobel Bridge closed at for several days, according to the Crawford County Highway Department.

Crawford County Highway Commissioner Dennis Pelock said the mudslide came down Monday morning sometime after 9 a.m. between two vehicles. No one was injured.

“We could hear the trees snapping and popping, and the rocks starting to move, and we know it was coming down,” highway crew member Tim Ray said.

Pelock said this is one of the largest single mudslides they’ve seen. He said about 3 miles of road was muddied by the slides. It’s the third mudslide workers have seen in as many days, leaving a mess for them to clean up.

Ray said the experience is a frightening one for workers who fear for their safety as they work to remove debris from the road.

“What’s scary is when you’re got to go out at the middle of the night at 2:30 at night, and it’s pouring down rain, and you’re standing there cutting off trees from a slide like this, and you’re wondering, ‘Jeez, is it going to start moving again?’” Ray said.

Ray estimated the road would be cleared by Tuesday at the earliest, but with the seemingly relentless rain, another mudslide is a scary reality for workers who are still scrambling to clean up Highway 61 before the ground gives way again.

Yet another mudslide blocked Highway 35, and Crawford isn’t the only county whose roads are seeing damage. Grant County Emergency Services Director Steve Braun said thoroughfares around Boscobel have seen their fair share of the storms’ aftermath.

“We’re starting to go around and assess the damages, and we found a lot of road damage, even more than we initially estimated,” Braun said.

He added Highway 61’s mudslide has significantly affected traffic in to and out of Boscobel.

With more rain in the forecast, both counties are warning drivers that road conditions likely won’t improve.

“People need to use extreme caution, and when the roads are marked as closed, they really are marked for a reason, and there probably are some hazards there to watch for,” Braun said.

Emergency officials estimate that repairs from the Grant County flooding will cost $2.3 million.

And that total doesn't yet include the hard-hit city of Boscobel.

In total, 600 homes were damaged, 20 of which suffered major damage, due to the weekend's storms.

The storms that ripped through southwestern Wisconsin counties Saturday night left behind flooding, mudslides and uprooted trees.

The NWS said additional storms could result in heavy rain and additional flash flooding.

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