Hallelujah! The road to Lansing is open again. It was getting to be a long spring for area residents, who are used to commuting between Wisconsin and Lansing, Iowa by way of Highway 82.
The road, which runs along the Lansing dike, had been closed for a week. On Friday, May 3, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation officials decided to reopen the highway with a one-lane restriction over a 100-yard section that had raised concerns earlier.
WDOT officials had been concerned with the possibility of a washout due to high water conditions in the Mississippi River. They closed the highway on Friday, April 26.
The concerns were heightened when an inspection found small cracks in a section of pavement that had collapsed when material in the dike eroded under similar high water conditions in 2017. That washout claimed the life of a Lansing, Iowa resident whose vehicle fell into 20-feet of water, as a result of the pavement collapsing.
Earlier this week, tests were run to ascertain the safety of the roadway. On Monday and Tuesday, a WDOT crew bored holes into the pavement and the shoulder. On Wednesday and Thursday, an inclinometer was employed to measure whether there was movement in the soil below the pavement.
Additionally on Thursday, a sonar unit was used from a boat to capture images of the bank and the adjoining bridge. It was at that time, a crew installed stoplights at the section in question to facilitate closing the eastbound lane to traffic.
The eastbound lane faces a whirlpool on the south side of the causeway that formed during high water conditions. That whirlpool or eddy was responsible for the previous erosion of the bank. Officials feared it could happen again and erred on the side of caution by closing the highway last week.
Water in the Mississippi River appears to be down a few feet from last week, which is a hopeful sign. So, for now at least, Highway 82 between Highway 35 and Lansing, Iowa is open.With 82 closed, motorists were forced to travel 30 to 35 miles to bridges in LaCrosse or Prairie du Chien.