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SDDOT: Bridge Was Blocking Shindler Culvert

February 19, 2014, 5:17 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

SDDOT: Bridge Was Blocking Shindler Culvert

A South Dakota Department of Transportation worker says a decorative bridge was pulled out of the floodwater near one of the Highway 11 culverts in Shindler during the flooding of 2010.

The testimony came on the second day of the trial in the lawsuit between the Shindler homeowners and the South Dakota DOT.

Five Shindler homeowners say the state didn't put the proper drainage in place under Highway 11 which caused a heavy rainstorm to flood out their property on July 30, 2010.

But on Wednesday state DOT worker Bruce Crumb testified that he saw a decorative pedestrian bridge near the culverts and when it was removed the water drained faster.

“What I saw was some of that bridge blocking the culvert,” Crumb said on the witness stand.

Mark Meierhenry, the attorney for the homeowners, says debris is often caught up in floodwater and no one has any idea where the bridge was under the water or if the bridge was even blocking the culvert.

“We don’t know how it blocked or when it blocked,” Meierhenry said.

A local resident pulled the bridge out of the water with a pick-up truck but Crumb says he never witnessed it being removed.

Civil engineer Chad Hanisch, who was called as a witness by the state, said any obstruction would impede the flow.

Hanisch also pointed out that a study conducted in 2012 following the flooding showed that Highway 11 was built to withstand a 50 year rain event which exceeded the standard that requires highways to be built to withstand a 25 year event.

But Meierhenry pointed to a Hydraulic Data Sheet filed by the South Dakota DOT just seven months before the flooding that said Highway 11 in Shindler was only designed to handle an eight year rain event.

South Dakota State Climatologist Dennis Todey is scheduled to testify on Thursday as the trial wraps up.

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