Steele County sinkhole repair could cost more than $1 million
A sinkhole as long as a football field and as deep as thirty feet sits along State Highway 23 near Hatton, North Dakota
STEELE COUNTY, N.D. (KVRR) – With rain flooding areas in eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota, people weren’t expecting rain water to cause such a collapse and agencies around the area say they didn’t feel prepared either.
“Usually in flood events, we get 2,3,4 weeks of warning. With the amount of rain that we had, we were expecting more of a snow than rain and when the temps increased, we wound up getting rain. That changed everything. We had three hours notice basically before this happened,” says Ben Gates.
Gates, the Director of Steele County Emergency Management, says a similar, smaller collapse happened in 2010 affecting drain one in Steele County.
“It was a two year process to fix. It was a half a million dollars back then. We’re expecting that money to obviously increase to fix it and this is a lot more than what that was. It’s really rough estimates at this point. Our water resources board and our engineers have taken a look at it. They’re estimating over a million dollars in damages right now just for this alone. So, we’re expecting a lot more,” Gates says.
Gates adds the weekend rain will make it harder for farmers to begin planting season.
“Anytime you get a lot of water on the fields it just creates delays on their end too. A lot of the farmers were expecting to be in the fields this time to get some planting and some farming started. It’s gonna take them even longer so all those crops are going to get pushed back even further and it affects them bad,” said Gates.
He reminds people to stay safe by keeping away from gravel roads around drain eleven. He says they are closed.