HENDERSON, Minn. – Six weeks after torrential rains washed out three of the primary roads into Henderson, only Highway 19 remains closed. But not much longer.
A Colorado contractor is using technology refined in the mountains to shore up the damaged roadway.
It's called soil nailing.
On the washed out shoulder of Highway 19, some 200 "nails" – each 20 feet long – are being propelled into the remaining soil to serve as anchors for a 180-foot retaining wall made of steel mesh and concrete.
"In our part of the state this is for the first time utilizing them as an emergency repair technique," said Jed Falgren, a MnDOT assistant district engineer based in Mankato.
Falgren says soil nailing is both cheaper and faster than excavating the road and starting over.
The opening of Highway 19 cannot come soon enough for the residents of Henderson, who have been without their eastern link to Highway 169 and the Twin Cities.
"We definitely look forward to 19 East being open," said Tom Bender, the owner of Henderson's hardware store.
Bender says traffic has been greatly reduced through downtown Henderson with Highway 19 closed, meaning lost business for his store and others.
Falgren says Highway 19 should be open again in a few weeks.