More than three months after floodwaters heavily damaged portions of County Line Road, a Washington County road crew will begin reconstruction.
The road, which sits parallel to the Elkhorn River just east of Nickerson, intersects with state Highway 91, which was also severely damaged during the flood.
Highway Superintendent Bill Hansel said his crew had to wait until repairs on Highway 91 were complete before work could begin on the county road. The highway reopened last week.
“We're just trying to get everything in order before we start tackling it,” Hansel said Monday. “We really don't know what we're going to get into once we start going south. North is not a big issue, but south is.”
The county road crew will have its work cut out for it. Pooled water remains on either side of the highway. Water on the south side is directly where the county road should be. Hansel said the crew won't pump the water out, but use dirt to force it away from the road.
“I, personally, don't understand why it's being left there,” he said. “I don't get it because it wasn't there before the flood. I'm not sure why they are leaving a problem.”
It also leaves Hansel with a problem — finding dirt to fill that hole.
“That's going to be the big issue,” he said. “We could get some dirt down on Highway 30. That's a long way to haul it up there, but if we have to we will.”
It's unclear how long the reconstruction project could take. Hansel couldn't give an estimate.
“I really won't know until we can get down toward the south end,” he said. “I don't even really know what's going on down there or how big of holes we have down there.”
The county will be reimbursed for the work through the federal funding thanks to the emergency declaration issued by President Donald Trump in March.
“That's another reason we have to have all our ducks in a row and follow everything to the letter to make sure we don't mess up that funding,” Hansel said.
Dodge County resident Steve Harshman has been patiently waiting for work to begin on the road.
“Right now, my life is pretty much on hold,” he said.
The foundation of Harshman's house at 1585 County Line Road collapsed during the flooding. Contractors have been working on his house, using skid loaders to drive across a field to access his property. But without a road, he has no way to get there.
“Knowing the house could be done and I can't live in it is frustrating, but there is nothing else I can do,” he said.
Since the flood, Harshman has stayed with various friends, moving six times.
“It's been a long three months,” he said.
While he knows he will have to wait a while longer, Harshman said it is encouraging to see that work will start soon.
“There is definitely a sense of relief there,” he said.