If floodwaters rise along some of the county’s most flood-prone roads this spring and summer, new barriers will be in place to stop drivers tempted to see if their vehicle can make it through the water.
Whenever Johnson County gets heavy rain, officials know right away what roads are likely to flood and remain flooded for days at a time. But unless a deputy stays parked along one of the roads, they have few options to make sure drivers stay out of floodwater that are often far more dangerous than they may appear, Johnson County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Col. Randy Werden said.
Sections of County Road 250S, County Road 400S and Greensburg Road are all trouble spots during and after heavy rain, and often are ones that have to be shut down for multiple days at a time, he said. All three areas are south of Franklin, near Youngs Creek and Sugar Creek.
Currently, the county blocks off those roads with temporary barricades when they flood, but drivers can easily drive around or move them if they choose, he said.
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If the new barriers keep drivers out of the water, the county could consider adding additional ones at other roads that are prone to flooding, Werden said.
In past years, emergency workers have been called out multiple times when drivers have gone around barriers or simply moved them off to the side of the road, only to find themselves later trapped by waters too high or fast for their vehicle to cross, Werden said.
Not only is that dangerous for drivers, but also the emergency workers responsible for rescuing them, he said.
The barriers also will be a time saver, as a deputy will be able to close the road and return to paroling for other areas that could flood, Werden said. The gates would be attached to posts set off to each side of the road, and would typically be kept locked open, but could be swung to the middle of the road and locked together to prevent vehicles from driving through, he said.
Purchasing the three barriers will cost a maximum of $3,000 total, but the highway department is working to decide what style of gate or barrier would work best, Werden said.
The goal is to have the barriers installed in the next month, which will be in time to have them available should the county have to deal with flooding during spring rains, he said.
The county is planning to install permanent gates that can be used to close roads that frequently flood to prevent drivers from going into floodwaters. Here’s a look at where those barriers are planned:
- East County Road 250S, between Mauxferry Road and Stonybrook Lane
- East County Road 400S, between U.S. 31 and South County Road 700E
- Greensburg Road, between South County Road 700E and South County Road 725E