Crews clearing logjams after wettest year to date

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Logjams happen every year, but this year crews had to be a little flexible. So far it’s been the rainiest year on record so even more debris is being dragged into the rivers.

Every year crews take a couple months to remove logjams under Allen County’s bridges. Usually this takes place after the spring rain. However, this year that spring rain turned into summer rain.

“More rain and more erosion along the river banks then dead trees will fall in the river and get pushed downstream and lodged against the bridge,” Allen County Highway Department Project Manager Bill Reuille said.

Reuille said crews have removed about five log jams since the project started last month, and they have another month before it’s all wrapped up. Some bridges have already had more than one logjam removed.  On Tuesday crews were working on the Main Street bridge where it’s quite the sight for some drivers. Next, they’ll move to the Van Buren Street Bridge.

“It’s possible [we’ll clear] up to ten bridge this year,” Reuille said.

Logjams happen when debris, often times whole trees, float down the river then get stuck underneath the bridges collecting more logs, trees and debris as the current passes by. More rain means more debris so some of the logjams have been larger this year.

“If you narrow the channel the water is going to speed up and scour out the river, and if you scour out the river too badly you’ll have an issue with the bridge,” Reuille said.

Much like an iceberg, most of the jam is underwater. So, a lot of the work is done breaking up sediment under the water making it safe for the bridges, and boaters.