North Dakota Roads - US 281

US 281

This photo is out of order, but I wanted to show you the only non-flood related photo first. This looks north across US 2 from these roads' western junction. US 281 continues north by turning right onto 2 EB.

US 281 SB briefly turns east from Lallie. This should all be fields, not lakes. Debris should not be washing onto the road. These are unusual times.

You think US 281 has it bad? At least it's above water. This is as far as I can get heading north on 65th Ave., which is supposed to be old US 281 to downtown Minnewaukan but is now cut short at 43rd St. You can see the cracks from the old concrete underneath.

The stub end seen from 43rd St., which still helps a farmer or two get to their fields. It used to serve a farmhouse, but the house is now on a driveway because the connecting roads are part of Round Lake. Which is now also part of Devils Lake, just like the fields and the road and soon Minnewaukan. There was a property fence and ROW marker in the 2nd photo, but all is water evermore.

Walk out to the end, use a zoom lens, and you can see the far side of the submerged alignment at the Devils Lake boating access parking lot. When it's not spring and the waters are a little lower than where I found them, the lot can still be accessed. Right now, not so much.

Back south to the end of the old alignment. This stub is intentional and permanent, since modern US 281 swings back in here.

Looking east from US 281 at the next segment of old 281, south of Minnewaukan and north of the 65th Ave. section, as it disappears into the lake.

Heading south from Minnewaukan on old US 281 until I can go no farther. I guess, technically, there's still some amount of pavement above water, but you're not getting into Spirit Lake Nation from here, only Spirit Lake.

Old US 281 becomes C Ave. in Minnewaukan and ends abruptly at a new embankment built to protect the town from the ever-encroaching lake. Devils Lake apparently fills and empty in cycles, and the current fill cycle has been ongoing since 1992. By 2013, the shoreline was knocking at C Ave. instead of being safely 8 miles away, having already eaten the following menu items: 37 houses, church, gas station, town store, bank, grain elevator. Hopefully you are reading this caption as the waters are receding. I guess non-motorized vehicles and non-trucks are welcome to dump themselves into the lake. Again, when it's not spring, the waters may be low enough to take C St. and explore a little of the old alignment into the lake, but not in May 2013.

Setting out on the last traversable section of old US 281, south from US 2. The old road is all paved except for the crossing of Stink Lake, which makes one wonder. Maybe the pavement dipped down below the new level of the water, and this link is still useful enough that there was a need to fill it in to keep it open.

The road is usually open past here, but not when Devils Lake has spring snowmelt feeding it. And maybe not even otherwise, anymore. The low point underwater has a bridge over a small creek that is no longer a small creek.

This was a driveway to a farmhouse east of old US 281 once.

Back north across Stink Lake. There's an old section line road that spurs straight as old US 281 curves left. It may have been the original US 281 alignment, meaning you can see all three US 281s in the third photo (the current one has a railroad overpass in the background). But now it's all lake.

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