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Multiple Albert Lea roads closed after flooding

Several Albert Lea roads were closed Friday after torrential rain brought flooding to the city and the surrounding area Thursday.

According to the city of Albert Lea website, the following roads in Albert Lea were closed:

  • Main Street between Garfield and Newton avenues. The section is expected to be closed until midweek.
  • Lincoln Avenue between Commercial Street and Ninth Street
  • Wedgewood Road
  • Lakeview Boulevard between The Fairway and Martin Road
  • Edgewater Drive
  • Freeborn County Road 101 between Minnesota Highway 13 and Edgewater Drive
  • The intersection of Pearl Street and Elizabeth Avenue
  • Elmira Street from Stanley Avenue to Blackmer Avenue

Provided no additional rainfall is received, the other sections on the list should reopen sooner, said Albert Lea Engineer Steven Jahnke.

Fountain Lake was expected to crest Friday night, Jahnke said, noting the lake’s water level will rise again if additional rainfall is received tonight.

He said water levels are at record levels.

“We are seeing some water levels higher than we have seen since at least 2004,” Jahnke said. “Those were the highest levels I had previously seen. The water levels on Abbott Street are approximately 3/4 of a foot higher than seen previously. We are also seeing levels on the Fountain Lake side of the dam approximately 1/2 a foot higher than we have seen since 2004, which had been the previously seen high levels.”

U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, DFL-Minnesota, was given a tour of the area by local officials Friday.

He thanked the professionalism of law enforcement and first responders in ensuring infrastructure is protected.

Flood mitigation measures, such as culvert installations, have lessened the flood’s effects on the area compared to the 2007 and 2010 floods, Walz said.

“I think that same model needs to hold true here,” he said, noting he expects Freeborn County to meet the minimum threshold to meet state funding standards.

Federal funding will depend on a statewide damage estimate, Walz said.

Following the tour, Walz traveled to Owatonna to assess damage.

According to the press release, materials for sandbags are available at City Garage, 414 Commercial St. Free flood cleanup kits are available at the Salvation Army, 302 Court St.

The Albert Lea Transfer Station at the intersection of Highway 101 and Freeborn County Road 20 will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. today.

County officials advise residents who have experienced flood-related damage to call 507-373-3965 or email jody.larson@co.freeborn.mn.us. Anyone calling is advised to provide a name, address, phone number, number of occupants in the home, items damaged and their approximate value. Anyone who needs flood cleanup or well-testing kits, is advised to contact the number.

County officials are also advising:

  • Reporting areas with water on the road
  • Not allowing children to play or be in water, which may contain debris
  • Emergency response vehicles may be slow in their response time to incidents
  • Being aware of possible basement collapse if water is removed at too rapid of a pace

 

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About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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