Floodwaters wipe out county bridge

A bridge in Northeast Comanche County was completely wiped out from rising flood waters. The King Road bridge spanned over a creek six miles north of Sterling.

"We don't know exactly what caused it all," said County Commissioner Gail Turner, "but it took the whole road out, about 20 feet deep and about 20 feet wide."

Commissioner Turner isn't sure what caused the bridge to collapse; whether there was a beaver hole that weakened the roadway, or if the drainage pipes overflowed. But floodwaters were definitely the culprit.

"If that sand ever gets to movin' and water gets to movin', it finds a route out," he said. "It just takes it out. It can do some amazing things."

With the above-average amount of rainfall the area's had in the last two months, the ground is so saturated, any rain that falls immediately becomes runoff. But the real problem comes when the city is forced to open the floodgates at Lake Lawtonka, because the drainage systems under the county roads are only able to withstand mother nature's runoff.

"But when you have these huge amounts of rain, and when they let the floodgates open, you have a lot more water than the normal drainage would handle in any kind of road," he said. "So it ends up with the water running across the road."

County Commissioner Ron Kirby says the repairs to county roads will cost more money than the county has. But Turner says the county may be getting a grant from FEMA that could help significantly.

He said with all the devastation the county has had -- this is among the least damaging.

"Mother Nature can do you some misery, but this is better than the fire and the dust we had a year ago," he said.

Commissioner Turner reminds you that these flood waters will continue to rise because there is more rain in the forecast and those floodgates are still open. So stick to main roads and highways, avoid back roads, and turn around if you see any water coming over the roadway. Because when roads turn into rivers, it's a life-threatening situation. It only takes two inches of water to sweep your car off the road... that is if the water hasn't already eroded the road underneath it.

"You never know how much water is going across, the speed of the water, so it's very dangerous to drive through any kind of water," he said. "Even if it looks like its shallow and it's not dangerous, you never know if there is a gulley or a hole or something there."

So remember: Turn around, don't drown.