Flooding, saturated soil creates challenges along Ohio River

Flooding, saturated soil creates challenges along Ohio River
Recent cold snaps combined with heavy rains and recent flooding are creating embankment slides along Highway 111.
Louisville Great Lawn is also flooding. (Source: Michael Flynn/ WAVE 3 News)
Louisville Great Lawn is also flooding. (Source: Michael Flynn/ WAVE 3 News)

FLOYD COUNTY, IN (WAVE) - Flood waters along the Ohio River are rising, again. Just weeks after the first bout of flooding, many communities on both sides of the river are bracing for high water.

In New Albany, part of Water Street is closed, and part of the green space along the riverfront park is underwater, as the Ohio River inches closer toward the park's bandshell.

High waters also cover parts of Waterfront Park in downtown Louisville as the river rises again. The rains and flooding have made it a mess for Kentucky Fire Juniors Soccer, trying to fit in practices and games.

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"Yeah, it's been a challenge. As an outdoor coach, it's difficult to get our kids out there on a consistent basis," Frank Peabody, a Kentucky Fire Youth Soccer team coach and director of MSVC Player Recruitment at Mockingbird Valley Sports Complex, said.

When water covers their fields, they bring the teams inside to their Mockingbird Valley facility which can leave them scrambling to make up that missed field time around rec leagues.

"We've had to get pretty creative with dates and times when kids train, changing practice schedules with whatever weather is coming on whenever day," Peabody said.

In Indiana, recent cold snaps combined with heavy rains and flooding are creating embankment slides along Highway 111. The saturated soil is pulling away and into the river.

"As the river flow cuts into the embankment, it's cutting closer to our road," Harry Maginity, a spokesperson for the Indiana Department of Transportation, said. "This is a real threat to the motoring public getting down here."

Geo-technical crews are putting together a plan to start repairing the slides Monday, but the wet soil and rising river are changing the problem daily. Since late March, Maginity explained they have lost guardrails and parts of the shoulder and pavement continue to d rop.

"A number of new slide sites, defined slide sites, have developed that were not on our map a week ago," he said.

Higher flooding could lead them to shut down the roads.

The weekend's cold snap could mean more damage to the pavement. Repairs to one of the embankment slide sites along Two Mile Lane are expected to begin Monday, but the changing weather could impact that. Once repairs begin, part of the highway will become a one-lane road to let crews work.

Until things warm up and dry out, many around the region are left waiting.

"I'm okay with the cold but the dry is necessary," Peabody said.

"We're kind of at the mercy of mother nature right now," Maginity said.

Community leaders in New Albany said there are only a few roads closed, but they do have pumps running in part of town and ready to go in another spot.

For now, they say it's a wait-and-see game as they watch how high the Ohio River will rise this time around.

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