Flooding shuts down 9 roads

Winter Storm Advisory now in effect
By: 
Marlo Pronovost
Thursday, March 28, 2019

Stillwater County Road & Bridge Department photo

Lower Grove Creek Road. Check our photo gallery for more flood images!

Stillwater County Road & Bridge Department photo

Valley Creek Road near Park City. Check our photo gallery for more flood images!

Rapid snowmelt caused by warm temperatures flooded county and private roads throughout Stillwater County, with a total of nine being shut down by the county Road and Bridge Department, and Stillwater County Commissioner’s issuing a special Disaster Declaration.

The following roads were closed:

-North Stillwater Road at Jackstone

-South Grove Creek

-Valley Creek Road

-Rapelje-Molt Road

-Lower Grove Creek Road

-Hailstone Road (culvert washed out)

-Downer Road

-Wheatbasin Road

-Whistle Creek Lane (private)

As of 3 p.m. Wednesday, March 27, North Stillwater Road, South Grove Creek and Downer Road had been reopened. Also, a temperoary road was in place on Valley Creek Road.

Road & Bridge Superintendent Mark Schreiner explained at an emergency meeting held Monday that several culverts had been washed out and that there were also “rough patches” on portions of Shane Creek Road, Huntley Butte Road and the main Countryman-Creek Road.

Areas of water running over the road has also been reported for multiple days on portions of Highway 78, the Joliet Road and in Absarokee. On Saturday and Sunday, the Montana Department of Transportation (MDOT) reported “a patch” of water on Highway 78 stretching 100 feet long and measuring 2-inches deep, just north of Absarokee. MDOT issued another alert on Tuesday regarding water on Highway 78 measuring 1 to 1.5 inches deep and 50-feet in length, five miles east of Absarokee.

Schreiner said nearly every ditch from Park City to Reed Point is full. County Disaster and Emergency Services (DES) Coordinator Carol Arkell said that four houses have been damaged.

A picture taken by road crews of Valley Creek Road near Park City in which half the road is basically missing serves as a blunt reminder of the safety mantra “Turn Around – Don’t Drown.”

In addition to Schreiner’s road crew, DES and deputies, MDOT has been on the go, placing signs in several areas to warn motorists of water running across roads. Sandbags are available from the county as well, with the first 25 free and 25 cents per bag after that initial 25.

WINTER STORM WATCH IN EFFECT

And the flooding problems may be only starting.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for the region, calling for a round of heavy, wet snow to sweep through the area from Wednesday through Friday. In Columbus, there is a 90 percent chance of mixed rain and snow showers Thursday and Thursday night, with a high of 39 degrees and a low of 22. Friday brings a 60 percent chance of the same kind of moisture, with a high of 42 degrees and a low of 16.

Once Saturday hits, it’s back to spring weather, with a high of 50 and mostly sunny skies.

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