High ground water levels cause problems for county roads

HALL COUNTY, Neb. (KSNB) - The water table is historically high after flooding throughout Central Nebraska, creating issues on some Hall County roads.

High ground water levels are causing more saturation on gravel roads in Hall County, forcing the crews to use more gravel than before. (Source: Kelsey Dickeson, KSNB)

The rain and flooding has caused major saturation on gravel roads. Ditches have standing water in them due to the high ground water levels. Like flooding in homes, that's partly due to less irrigation this year.

In an effort to fix these problems, and keep up with damages, the Hall County Roads Department has used 20 percent more gravel this year than last.

"We're putting more gravel on than I think ever before. I know we're putting more crushed concrete on than ever before, and it's because of how high the ground water is," said Steve Riehle, Hall County engineer. "It's creating grief for our gravel roads, and turning them into muddy gravel roads wherever we're close to ground water."

That can make travel on these roads difficult, and even dangerous.

Riehle said the worst ones right now are 80th Road south of Schultz Road and Wood River Road west of Highway 281.

Riehle said they don't usually put down too much crushed concrete, because it costs double the amount of gravel, but it's more effective and needed to fix this type of damage.

"We're nervous for this winter and we're nervous for next spring again. I don't want another wet year like this, and I'm hoping we don't have high ground water next year as well. Even higher ground water levels than we had this year means it's even harder to accommodate storm and rainfall events."

Riehle said all they can do now is continue fixing the roads, and hope there's no more severe rain this season.