WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published March 21, 2010, 03:10 PM

Oslo Residents Preparing To Lose Out Of Town Access

People in the city of Oslo, Minnesota are preparing to lose the last open road that leads into town.

By: Renee Chmiel, WDAZ

People in the city of Oslo, Minnesota are preparing to lose the last open road that leads into town. Last year access to the town was cut off for 4 to 6 weeks after the road flooded and was badly eroded. Today Highway 54 is closed to thru traffic, but residents can still get in and out of town...for now. About half the town has already evacuated, and this is hard on local business owners.

Scott Kosmatka, Grocery Store Owner in Oslo, says, "The stress comes after the fact. You have the reduced income coming in. It just makes things tough a month, two months down the road."

Grocery store owner Scott Kosmatka has been preparing for this for the past few weeks, and stocking up. The flooding is tough for everyone in town. More people have left this year than last year. And the high water has been hard on emergency responders as well.

Jason Boman, the Marshall County Deputy Sheriff, says, "The Oslo Fire Department has done three rescues on their airboat. We've had two stranded cars that we've had to go out and get."

Highway 1, which leads into Oslo from the east, is closed right now and in some spots there's up to 8 inches of water on the road. Having the road closed means business owners can't get the supplies they need delivered. This means simple things, like a milk delivery, are much more difficult. But soon, this won't even be possible.

Scott Kosmatka says, "I need to make a plan with them today, meet them at the milk plant, load up and drive back here. Just an inconvenience, but it's a necessity. We have to have fresh dairy."

The National Weather Service expects the Red River in Oslo to crest on Wednesday at 38 feet. It's predicted to stay at a very high level until Saturday. Access to the city could be cut off for 2 to 3 weeks.

Volunteers and the National Guard are walking the dike on the southeast part of town to make sure it's holding the water back. The city office is also open 24 hours a day.

People are still needed for dike patrol and to answer phones at the office. If you're at least 18 years old and would like to help, call the city office at 218 695 3841.