U.S. Highway 81 just south of Arlington is open again. After spending $8.3 million on what we’d hoped would be a $4-million project (but hey, they got done two weeks early!), the Department of Transportation says the raised road should keep drivers out of the raging waves of the Twin Lakes:
“The benefits of this project are that future rain events will not cause the water to over-top the road so that the road will not need to be closed,” the DOT said in a news release.
Wayne Lloyd, project manager for Prairie States Trucking Inc., said the road base is now above a 100-year flood event.
“…this is a permanent grade raise. The water will outlet to natural drainage two feet below the driving surface,” said DOT engineer Brad Tiede [Rae Yost, “Highway 81 Project Will Stop the Water, Officials Say,” KELO-TV, 2022.09.07].
This stretch of jacked-up Highway 81 sits at about 1,800 feet above sea level, so the melting of the Thwaites Glacier shouldn’t get the new road wet. But engineers have been dumping more rock and pavement on this Key Westian road since the wet early 1980s, and folks traveling from Madison to Brookings and Watertown have continued to encounter high water.
Hmmm… maybe in addition to piping water uphill from the Missouri, Madison (elevation 1,677′) should spend a little Biden Infrastructure money to pipe Twin Lakes water downhill for its industrial needs! A Twin Lakes water pipeline would top off the Madison city water supply and reduce the chance that we’ll be dumping another $10 million of rock onto the Great Wall of Kingsbury and Brookings Counties.