Main Street Flood Mitigation

 (You can voice your support to the State of Minnesota for this request by filling out the survey at: https://mn.gov/mmb/budget/capital-budget/public-comment.jsp by November 30, 2019)

The City of Albert Lea, Minnesota Department of Transportation, and Shell Rock River Watershed are requesting $3.5 million in Minnesota State Bonding Funds to mitigate this flooding. The proposed mitigation will involve raising the roadway above flood levels or installation of large stormwater pumps to keep flood levels lower than the roadway or a combination of both.

Mitigation steps the city has already taken:
• Purchased and relocated businesses out of flood plain (Moose, Union Center)
• Installed rain gardens along the flood plain
• City and MNDOT contracted Barr Engineering to evaluate potential mitigation measures

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. What will happen to businesses in the flood area if the road is raised? ie: Hanson Tire, Godfather’s Pizza.

Barr Engineering was hired by MNDOT and the City of Albert Lea to model many different scenarios of what would occur if the road raise option was chosen.  This modeling showed that the roadway could be raised 2 feet with no impact on the surrounding businesses with the exception of a slight increase at the Godfathers Pizza property.  Options are being evaluated to mitigate this.

2. Can better drainage be created?

The roadway floods under two different conditions. The first condition is when there are heavy short term rain events. This causes localized flooding which requires local Public Safety personnel or Street Department staff to temporarily close off the roadway. These events usually last less than two hours.

The other condition is after heavy rain events the level of Albert Lea Lake rises to an elevation higher than TH-65 and floods the roadway. These events last several days until Albert Lea Lake water levels go down.

The two options being considered both have been shown to be effective for both the temporary and long term closures. They are:

  • Raise the roadway two feet.
  • Install a large stormwater pumping system which outlets into the channel.

3. What is the projected cost? Who will pay for this?

The City of Albert Lea, Minnesota Department of Transportation, and Shell Rock River Watershed are requesting $3.5 million dollars in State bonding funds to mitigate this flooding.  This would be in addition to the cost of the mill and overlay project being proposed by MNDOT.

4. Being that Main Street is a State Highway, who makes the final decision on what steps are taken?

The roadway is a US Trunk Highway in the City of Albert Lea.  The roadway in a main thru fare for both the residents of Albert Lea and the traveling public.  MNDOT has been working with the City of Albert Lea to resolve the flooding but is the road authority and has the final decision on the project.