Heavy rain, high water threatens levee in Kenosha County

KENOSHA Co. (WITI) -- Due to the recent heavy rains, the Kenosha County Sheriff's Department indicates there is the possibility the levee which retains Vern Wolf Lake near the Bong Recreation Area might fail.

If the levee should fail, State Highway 75 south of 18th Street would flood immediately.  It is expected that flood waters would at best compromise the integrity of State Hwy. 75 and at worst wash out portions of the road.

"We will be monitoring the situation 24/7 for the next 48 hours," said Marcus Smith, a DNR spokesman.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation has requested that State Hwy. 75 be closed from State Hwy. 142 to County Hwy. K.  Local traffic will be allowed, but NO TRAFFIC will be allowed to cross the culvert on State Hwy. 75 south of 18th St.

The Kenosha County Highway Department is in the process of emplacing barricades to block the road.  This portion of the roadway will be closed until further notice.  Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth has ordered that a deputy will monitor the area in order to ensure that no one violates the road closure.

Vern Wolf Lake is a 93 acre lake located within the Richard Bong Recreation Area in the Town of Brighton, with depths reaching up to 12 feet.  Portions of the lake are as close as about 50 feet from STH 75.  The levee has been and continues to be evaluated by engineers from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

The spillway for Vern Wolf Lake feeds into Brighton Creek.  The property immediately downstream is farmland.  Flooding of the farmland is expected if the levee fails.  No structures are believed to be threatened should the levee fail.

Detour routes are as follows:

    Please take alternate routes and allow extra time for travel.