Officials begin closing floodgates in Halstead

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HALSTEAD, Kansas – Halstead officials started closing the town’s floodgates Wednesday afternoon.

The first gates were closed at Halstead Road.

City leaders are expecting to close the other two gates Thursday to keep the water from the Little Arkansas from rushing into town.

The water is nearing 20 feet deep in Halstead.

Normally, the Little Arkansas in Halstead is at two feet.

Earlier this summer it was just six inches deep.

Back in 2007 was the last time officials had to close the gates.

“We never had an issue. Every year, they are inspected by the Army Corp of Engineers. Two years ago, there was an independent engineering firm that came out and inspected it,” said J.R. Hatfield, Halstead City Administrator.

The $25 million flood system was built in 1993. $12.5 million of it came from Halstead taxpayers.

At the time, some residents grumbled about the cost. But city officials say, without the levee system, most of Halstead would already be under water.

“This dike is a blessing as many people that were opposed to it,” said Cheryl Thompson, a Halstead resident. “It’s saved a lot of town people.”

City officials asked volunteers early Wednesday to report to the City Shop at 1st and Logan to help fill 1,500 sand bags so the gates could be closed.

Also,  K-89 is closed from Halstead to US-50 due to flooding.

No detour has been designated.

Road condition information can be viewed at the KDOT website.

This weekend, Halstead is set to celebrate its 126th Old Settlers festival. Organizers plan to move events to higher ground.

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