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Shindler Residents Argue Hwy. 11 Caused Flooding

February 18, 2014, 9:51 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Shindler Residents Argue Hwy. 11 Caused Flooding
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

It's flooding that devastated five homes and five families who live in the small town of Shindler just south of Sioux Falls.

Heavy rain which fell on July 30, 2010 was held back by state Highway 11 which acted like a dam and flooded out half a dozen properties. Now, those homeowners are suing the South Dakota Department of Transportation which they say could have prevented the problem.

This KELOLAND News video was played in court Tuesday for Judge Pat Reipel as the homeowners argued the state didn't have the appropriate drainage in place.

Mark Long is one of the five homeowners suing the state. It was his family being rescued in the video and in the weeks following the flood he was outspoken about the drainage issues in the area.

On the witness stand Tuesday, Long said the day was 'chaos' and described how the water was being held back by Highway 11.

A South Dakota Department of Transportation bridge engineer admitted in court that the highway led to the flooding.

"The water on the west side of Highway 11 caused flooding to the property," Kevin Goeden said on the witness stand.

But Goeden added that culverts under Highway 11 were actually improved earlier that summer when they were lowered while the highway was repaved. He added that the only time flooding has occurred in the area is when one of the culverts was blocked by a stump.

That statement led attorneys for the State of South Dakota to ask some of the homeowners if they had seen a decorative pedestrian bridge from a neighboring property blocking a culvert the day of the flooding, but none of them had seen it.

Attorneys for the state also pointed out the area has never flooded before and hasn’t flooded since July 2010 despite a large rain storm in the area on Memorial Day of 2013.

None of the homeowners had flood insurance because they were not classified as being in a flood plain at the time.

The state is expected to call some of its witnesses Wednesday and the trial is expected to wrap up Thursday.

The homeowners are asking the state to pay for the damages done to their property.

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