State officials say part of a key highway through southern Minnesota could be closed for more than a week because of flood damage.
Water running over Highway 169 north of St. Peter saturated out the ground underneath the concrete road surface and washed the northbound lanes completely away.
The washout happened where the highway splits into widely separated north and south bound roadways between St. Peter and LeSeuer. The northbound lanes were submerged for days by the Minnesota River after record September rains.
"That kind of water and that kind of pressure, you don't know what to expect," said Rebecca Arndt, a spokeswoman for the Minnesota Department of Transporation in Mankato. "So we have, now I'm hearing it could be a 200-foot long section of roadway that's literally washed out."
Arndt said the state will expedite a bid and contract for repairing the road, and expects the work itself to take about a week. Traffic is being diverted onto the southbound lanes until the damage is repaired.