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Henderson embarks on two years of road work to fix flood-prone Highway 19

Henderson residents hoping 2-year project to fix Highway 19 gets the job done
Henderson residents hoping 2-year project to fix Highway 19 gets the job done 01:48

HENDERSON, Minn. — A Minnesota city victimized by flooding every year is set to make some permanent changes.

The one road into Henderson in Sibley County that comes from the east, Highway 19, often closes down when spring floods come.

The forced detour adds at least 20 minutes to Jane Schuette's commute to her job at Schuette's Ice Cream Shoppe. When the roads coming in from the north and south also flood, Schuette's four-mile commute becomes 34 miles.

RELATED: Road project in Henderson to raise highway up to 8 feet, preventing road from flooding

"It is a little frustrating," said Randy Tiegs, who's lived in Henderson all his life. "Our only way out normally during those times is Highway 19 to the west."

Amy Hardel, a city council member, says the flooding and ensuing road closures are just part of living in Henderson.  


Now though, the city is looking at road closures outside the flood season. Starting next week, Highway 19 will shut down for about a month to repair the shoulder that's been washed away by water and improve drainage.

"A lot of people, too, that work in the Twin Cities or Mankato will have longer drives," Hardel said.

RELATED: Henderson's highway woes continue with impending closure of Highway 19

Schuette says with gas prices where they are, the extra mileage makes a big difference.

Next year, the two other roads into town will go through major makeovers meant to avoid flooding closures altogether.

"I just hope that it is a permanent fix this time," Tiegs said.

Hardel asks everyone to be patient for two years while the construction takes place.

Scientists agree that the burning of fossil fuels has warmed the earth's climate, supercharged the water cycle and will continue to lead to more extreme rain and snowfall, as well as flooding.

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