DANE COUNTY (WKOW) – Many people trying to get to and through Black Earth now travel miles out of their way to get from one side of the town to the other after flooding on the Black Earth Creek washed out the Highway 14 bridges on the east and west sides of the village.
People who live here say they are encouraged with each bit of progress made by workers repairing those bridges.
“I drive in here every day and I look and say, ‘Oh yeah, they’ve made some progress,'” said Francine Rask, a volunteer at Heights Unlimited Community Resource Center. “Now you can look straight and you can see that there actually is a connection.”
The food bank shares a building with On the Go Tech on the west side of Black Earth. When flooding severely damaged the bridges, it was cut off from the rest of the community.
Adam Porter owns and operates On the Go Tech. He initially thought the bridge would not be ready for traffic until 2019.
“Six to 12 months,” Porter estimated. “I figured we’d argue about accounting for about three months.”
He says he’s happy he’s wrong because his business, which adds after-market upgrades to vehicles, relies mostly on drive-by traffic.
He says business is down 90 percent since the flood.
“If the bridge doesn’t get repaired, the traffic is gonna be lower and you’re not going to see as many new faces,” Porter said.
Just a couple months ago, the bridge on the west side of town was mostly in the Black Earth Creek. Now that it’s coming together again, Porter sees it as a metaphor for the community reconnecting.
“Folks that have had a hard time dealing with the trauma of the destruction, it looked like a war zone for a couple weeks,” Porter said. “Getting the bridges open is going to help some of those people be able to get a sense of normal back.”
The $2.8 million project started on September 17th and is slated to be finished between November 15th and December 1st.
“Wonderful, we’re excited about that,” Rask said.
More on this story at WKOW 27 News