Flood-prone road near Courtland to be rebuilt in 2020

October 5, 2018

COURTLAND, Minn. — Motorists who’ve put up with a long detour to get around a flooded road north of Courtland will see a higher road built — but not until 2020.

Nicollet County commissioners have committed to raising County Road 12 and the county is searching for funding sources.

“We’re looking at federal disaster funds and hoping that becomes a reality, but the County Board is committed to doing it no matter what,” said county administrator Ryan Krosch.

The road goes through a marsh where the water level has been rising, likely from a combination of more rain and added farm drainage.

The road was closed this spring when water reached near the center line. The water receded some, only to come back even higher.

“The high-water point was 20 inches (above the road) earlier this year. As of a couple of weeks ago it was down to 7 inches, but we had significant rains since then and it looks like we’ll have more.”

He’s not hopeful the water will fall enough before winter to allow it to reopen. “With the rainfall we’re getting, that looks less and less likely, and the evaporation rate slows as you get into the fall.”

Area residents and businesses, including a grain elevator, that regularly used the road now have a several-mile detour to get around the area. Members of the fire department in Courtland also worry because considerable time would be added if they respond to emergencies north of town.

Some hoped that some type of temporary gravel road could be built atop the flooded road as a temporary fix.

“That’s been investigated extensively, but the safety concerns and cost of that makes it prohibitive to pursue,” Krosch said.

The county has hired a consultant and engineering firm to do the necessary studies and plans to develop a budget for a new 2.3-mile section of road that would be 2 feet higher. Work is slated for 2020.

The county had sought some FEMA funding for the road when they applied for assistance to cover damage to other public infrastructure from this spring’s flooding, but the road didn’t qualify. They are now looking to a federal highway disaster fund for possible help in paying for the new road.

Update hourly