Lebanon Reporter

State News

December 23, 2013

Broken southern Indiana levee closes highway

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Water covered several highways Monday as central and southern Indiana residents contended with flooded creeks and rivers following a weekend of heavy rain and melting snow.

The high water impeded the morning rush hour for Indianapolis commuters, causing them to take alternate routes around inundated roads, emergency management officials said.

"The good news is that we don't have school today, and many people aren't working due to the Christmas holiday," Ed Reuter, director of the Bartholomew County Emergency Operations 911 Center, told The Republic newspaper on Monday. "But, nevertheless, State Road 46 West is going to be our most crucial area."

The East Fork of the White River was expected to crest about noon Monday in that area.

Bartholomew County Engineer Danny Hollander said the county highway department ran out of high-water signs with so many flooded roads.

Nearby, the Indiana Department of Transportation closed a heavily traveled portion of U.S 31 near Edinburgh.

The commissioners of Johnson County, south of Indianapolis, declared a local emergency Monday because of the flooding. Emergency Management Agency Director Stephanie Sichting said the county could receive aid later to help with damage to roads, homes and businesses.

Water covering all five lanes of Fall Creek Parkway south of the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis hampered the morning commute on a major Indianapolis thoroughfare. Local television stations showed motorists slowly braving the standing water before police completely closed the road.

A short distance upstream, Fall Creek was 4 feet above flood stage, the National Weather Service said.

The White River was nearly 9 feet above flood stage Monday at Anderson, northeast of Indianapolis. The weather service said the river would fall below flood level Tuesday as the crest moved downstream.

WTHR-TV reported that the American Red Cross opened shelters in Muncie, New Castle, Shelbyville and Martinsville, but there were no reports of large-scale evacuations.

In southern Indiana, Gibson County Sheriff's Sgt. Bruce Vanoven said Indiana 64 west of U.S. 41 near Princeton was closed after a levee broke late Saturday. The Princeton Daily Clarian reported that the Indiana Department of Transportation also closed Indiana 64 east of Oakland City because of standing water.

Vanoven said officers responded to 13 water rescues involving motor vehicles.

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