Darlington police say bridge will stay closed until Saturday morning due to floodwaters

The Main Street Bridge remains closed in Darlington and will likely stay that way until Saturday morning, so police are encouraging drivers to seek alternate routes.

Darlington Police Chief Jason King said in a news release he doesn’t expect to reopen Main Street until midnight Saturday. He said the bridge will remain closed Friday unless there is a major change in the forecast.

Anne Hastie owns the Towne House, a restaurant on Main Street, and the bridge closure turned her normally short commute into an hourlong affair. The bridge is the main access point from one side of the city to the other.

“I actually live about five minutes away right on the other side of the river (but) we had to drive all the way around. It was about an hour drive,” Hastie said.

The Pecatonica River appeared to crest in Darlington around 15.85 feet Thursday afternoon, meaning it did not reach the 16 feet needed to be considered a major flood stage by the National Weather Service.

King is warning drivers and pedestrians not to walk through floodwaters. He said the road could be washed out underneath and people wouldn’t realize it until it’s too late.

A common problem in the city has been manhole covers popping off, and King is concerned someone could get stuck inside and would need to be rescued by first responders.

“People think that maybe they can get around that barricade and get across because they’re driving a truck or something like that. But what they’re not taking into consideration is what’s going on underneath that water,” King said.

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