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Pierre Still Filling Sinkholes

December 9, 2011, 5:05 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Pierre Still Filling Sinkholes
PIERRE, SD - Pierre officials estimate they will need $16 million to pay for all the damage done to the city's infrastructure during this summer's flood.

And one of those costly projects is fixing the sinkholes in the city streets.

"We have aggressively attacked the large sinkholes with our local contractors," Pierre City Administrator Leon Schochenmaier said.

City officials are expecting to have the largest hole filled in by next week. Sewer pipes broke underground during the flood, causing the street near the Missouri River to collapse.

"When we actually got down there we found out that all three sewer pipes were actually broken so it turned out to be quite a bit more significant project than we had hope," Schochenmaier said.

And the city is working to patch up many of the sinkholes with gravel for the winter, and then they'll make a more permanent fix next summer.

"What we don't have done is the minor sinkholes. They are going to wait until next year. We are simply maintaining them with gravel, we knew there are utility problems down there but we're going to wait until next year to handle the minor ones," Schochenmaier said.

That's why the damage from this year's massive flood on the Missouri River is still going to cause a mess for city crews to clean up well into the New Year.

"We're near done dealing with the issues that we have to have done prior to winter, but certainly next year and the following years we know we have other problems with sanitary sewers, storm sewers, that have to be dealt with," Schochenmaier said.

These problems will continue to persist.

The $16 million needed to fix the city infrastructure is about 40 percent of Pierre's city budget.

Officials are hoping to get some help from the federal government, and exploring several other options to pay for the repairs.

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