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Bridge Inspectors Working Around The Clock

June 18, 2014, 10:00 PM by Matt Holsen

Bridge Inspectors Working Around The Clock

Rising water levels in southeastern KELOLAND have South Dakota Department of Transportation crews working overtime. The crews are checking area bridges for damage to make sure they're safe to drive over.

The Big Sioux River is causing big problems for this bridge just south of Brandon.

"We do have one on Highway 11 now that remains closed because the water remains too high to actually perform the inspection," Department of Transportation Region Engineer Craig Smith said.

Until the water level goes down, bridges like this one will remain closed until inspections can be made.

Officials with the Department of Transportation say of 30 bridges in southeastern South Dakota with the potential for inspections during flooding events, around a dozen locations are being actively monitored.

"Obviously numerous inspections, each bridge gets inspected at least every two hours and we've got ten to 12 that fit that over the last couple days," Smith said.

That means crews are working around the clock. They're on the lookout for any damage from the flood including erosion or undermining of bridge footings. If they don't find any problems, inspectors give the go ahead to open the bridge for traffic.

"At this point, other than the one location at Highway 46, it's been fairly minimal," Smith said.

Replacing embankments and asphalt there will be a priority once the water levels go down. Until then, officials are asking the public to obey road closed signs.

"They're there for a reason. If you drive around those, you're really just causing a safety problem not only for yourself but for our workers. Respect our flaggers that are out there as well as the road closed signs that we have placed, that would be greatly appreciated," Smith said.

The bridge on Highway 11 was about to be inspected this morning but the river rose again forcing inspectors to wait it out. Smith hopes it remains dry so his crew can get a better look at bridge footings in the area.

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