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National Guard activated to fill sandbags as floodwaters threaten I-90/94 in Columbia County

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Sandbags (Getty Images)

COLUMBIA COUNTY — Approximately 75 Wisconsin National Guard soldiers were called into active duty Sunday, Sept. 2 as floodwaters threaten eastbound Interstate 90/94 near Wisconsin Highway 33 in Columbia County.

The soldiers were called upon to fill and place sandbags near the roadway.

Wisconsin Department of Transportation officials were posting about closures in the area as a result of the flooding:

According to a news release from the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs, Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, Wisconsin’s adjutant general ordered soldiers from the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s Portage, Wisconsin-based 132nd Brigade Support Battalion and the Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin-based 1st Battalion, 120th Field Artillery to Columbia County on Sunday afternoon.

They will work overnight in advance of an expected rise in floodwaters at a low spot along a nearly mile-long stretch of interstate.

The guard expects to place approximately 16,000 sandbags by 6 a.m. Sept. 3 in hopes of preventing flooding on the highway and lane closures on the interstate, the release says.

According to the release, the Wisconsin National Guard has conducted a number of sandbag missions throughout the state in the past two weeks since torrential rain began falling across large swaths of southern Wisconsin. The guard concluded a sandbag mission in Dane County Aug. 29, where as many as 85 National Guard troops assisted civil authorities in Monona and Madison place nearly 7,400 meters of sandbags.

Wisconsin Army and Air National Guard troops have transported more than 800,000 empty sandbags throughout the state to staging areas to ensure they were in position for local municipalities to use since the operation began. The guard also assisted authorities with sandbagging missions in North Freedom and Baraboo in Sauk County on Aug. 30.

Governor Scott Walker signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency in Dane County, which was extended to include the entire state.

Wisconsin Emergency Management officials are urging citizens affected by the flooding to contact 2-1-1 to report damage.

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