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  • Last modified 77 days ago (Aug. 7, 2019)

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Area bridges washed out by heavy rain

Family becomes stranded when water overtakes roadways

Staff writer

When Patrick Combs discovered a bridge washed away by heavy rain at 280th and Vista Rds., he knew his weekend was done.

He and his family had no way to leave town.

“Usually we don’t go anywhere if it’s like this,” he said. “This time, the bridge decided it had enough and collapsed on us.”

Combs was worried what would happen if his father had a health problem

“As far as getting him out ambulance-wise, he’d have to be flown out,” he said.

While having an impassable road was not unexpected, it was difficult to prepare for, Combs said.

“We’ve gotten used to it over the years,” he said. “It’s not the kind of thing where you can have a plan in place when it happens. When it happens, you have to figure it out as you go.”

After realizing the situation, Combs’ priority was ensuring he had enough groceries.

“That was my first concern when I got up this,” he said. “I was assessing what we had in the house.”

The two bridges on 270th Rd. were likely in similar condition, which cut off the possibility of finding another route, Combs said.

“That’s our only way in and out during wet weather,” he said. “It’s our only gravel way out to the highway. Everything else is 1½ miles before I can get to anything that resembles solid road.

“If I had to, I could get on an ATV, cut across pastures and eventually get to pavement north of us on 290th Rd., but I’d have to travel through a lot of gates, pastures, and fields.”

While county workers were working on the bridge much of the day Friday, clearing debris and establishing a temporary culvert, Combs said he hoped it would inspire more bridge work moving forward.

“We have a lot of bridges in the county that have significant deterioration,” he said. “They can only do so many, so often, for so long because it takes a lot of money to do this. I’m hopeful this will accelerate the plans on a few others.”

Last modified Aug. 7, 2019

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