Motorists encounter high water

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 7, 2004

The rains came down, now the water is coming up.

Residents in areas along the Ohio River and its tributaries are keeping an eye on the rising flood waters today. According to the National Weather service, Charleston, W.Va., office, the Ohio River in the Ironton-Ashland, Ky., area was nearing the 52-foot flood stage at 4 a.m. today. The river is expected rise throughout the day and crest at 53 feet overnight.

According to a statement on the NWS, Charleston office Web site, people living along the river are urged to be cautious of the situation. "… but still respect the power of the mighty Ohio River. Using Huntington as an example, the volume of water that is coming down the river … is around 2.8 million gallons of water passing Huntington, and that is every second."

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The high water has produced some local flooding, and this has forced some road closures throughout the area. At Hanging Rock, State Route 650 at U.S. Route 52

has been closed due to high water. According to a news release from the Ohio Department of Transportation's District 9 office, crews from the ODOT's Lawrence County highway maintenance facility have placed high-water signs and barricades to close the route.

Also, crews ODOT crews will coordinate traffic controls on U.S. Route 52 in conjunction with the city of Ironton today. According to a prepared statement from ODOT, the city is erecting its flood gates at the west end and is diverting traffic to U.S. Route 52 by way of McPherson Street, which intersects with U.S. 52 between the exits for state routes 650 and 93.

Westbound U.S. Route 52 will be restricted to one through-lane and one left-turn lane to mitigate traffic from the highway onto McPherson Street. Eastbound U.S. Route 52 traffic will not be restricted, however, motorists are advised to exercise additional caution when traveling through this area as traffic will be crossing the four-lane highway.

In Chesapeake, part of County Road 1 near the Chesapeake High School has been closed due to high water. Chesapeake Village Bonds Clerk Belinda Worrell said barricades are up and motorists must use U.S. 52 and the Chesapeake exit to access the high school. Worrell said the Symmes Creek boat dock is also closed due to high water.

"It seems like whenever we get two days of steady rain, you can just about bet these two places are going to be closed," Worrell said.

ODOT reminds motorists

that crossing any closed route is prohibited. Also, they are reminded to exercise extreme caution when crossing any routes which remain open but where standing water may be present.