Missoula evacuation orders modified, Turah levee repair work continues

Posted at 8:24 AM, May 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-22 10:24:50-04

MISSOULA – Missoula residents who have been hit by flooding started this week with some good news.

River levels are expected to drop for the next 24 to 48 hours which is allowing authorities to modify evacuation orders to allow people back into their homes to check on their property.

"This isn’t a re-population or anything like that. This is just so they can go in and work on their property, view their property — you know, do the things that they need to do without actually having to check in," Missoula County Sheriff’s Office Captain Anthony Rio said.  "Once the water levels come back up and there is something that poses more of a serious threat then we will put our roadblocks back in place."

Even though folks might not see someone manning a roadblock, the roads in the flooding area are still closed to non-residents.

"We’re going to have hard roadblocks in the closure area, but we are just looking at going to two rove cars basically 24 hours a day rather than having five deputies or five officers out there," Rio explained.

The information trailer in the Wheat Montana parking lot will no longer be open but flood information will still be posted outside of the trailer.

Meanwhile, the US Army Corps of Engineers is continuing to work on a section of a levee near Turah that has eroded away exposing fiber optic and utility lines as well as potentially threatening an oil pipeline. 

“So that’s an emergency fix so it’s a patch, its a mega patch its something that we’re making sure that we have a confidence level that there’s not going to be further erosion and that there’s going to be a breach," Jess Jordan from the Army Corps of Engineers said. 

"We’re not necessarily going to build that back up to the prism that it used to be during the emergency action. We’ll have people come out and look at it and decide what they’re going to do for a longer-term fix after the emergency is over,” Jordan added.

Their efforts have prevented further erosion and the US Corps of Engineers expects it will take five-to-nine days to finish repairs on and around the levee.

A modified evacuation order is in effect for the following areas:

  • Tower Street, north of 3rd Street
  • Kehrwald Drive
  • Channel Drive
  • Nancy Lou Drive
  • Keck Street and Stone Street – north of Flamingo Drive
  • Schmidt Road
  • Off Mullan Road
  • South Harpers Bridge Road
  • Hamel Road
  • Underneath Reserve Street Bridge

Road Closures:

  • Tower Street closed to all traffic, north of 3rd Street
  • Nancy Lou Drive closed to all traffic
  • Stone Street north of Flamingo Drive closed to all traffic
  • Schmidt Road closed to all traffic
  • Harpers Bridge Road closed to all traffic
  • Hamel Road closed to all traffic
  • Short Street (and connectors) open to local traffic only
  • Preston Street (and connectors) open to local traffic only
  • Hiberta Street north of 3rd Street open to local traffic only
  • Stonybrook Drive open to local traffic only
  • River Road west of Reserve open to local traffic only