Flooded mobile homes may have been destroyed in Clark Fork river, bridge probably safe

Posted at 3:03 PM, May 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-05 15:00:23-04

MISSOULA – Missoula County authorities say three mobile homes that were washed away in the Clark Fork River are probably destroyed. And they believe they don’t pose a further threat to a critical bridge downriver.

The mobile homes were loosened from their foundations as waters rose rapidly on the Clark Fork earlier this week. Flood responders were able to reach the scene initially by boat. But there was no way to get heavy equipment into the location at the end of Schmidt Road west of Missoula.

On Thursday the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office used drone video to try and come up with a plan to divert some of the water so equipment could reach the trailers.

The concern was that the mobile homes would come loose and wash downstream, coming up against the Kona Bridge, which is the only river crossing between Missoula and Frenchtown. That bridge is already getting slammed by high water, with just a few feet of clearance above the flood.

But on Friday afternoon, emergency leaders said it appeared the trailers had broken apart, others may still be submerged and debris could be coming downstream.

“You know, water’s still rising. There are some concerns about those other mobile homes there that have been knocked off their foundation,” said Incident Command Spokesman Mel Holtz. “And so not looks like there may be, especially with the rising water, some additional debris, some additional trailers breaking apart and possibly heading downstream.”

Holtz says in addition to the mobile home debris, people should be extremely careful around the rivers now because of all the logs and other debris being torn loose by the floodwaters.

Reporting by Dennis Bragg for MTN News