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Fort Pierre Borrows Millions Of Dollars For Roads

May 20, 2012, 10:06 PM by Hailey Higgins

Fort Pierre Borrows Millions Of Dollars For Roads
FORT PIERRE, SD -

The City of Fort Pierre plans on borrowing millions of dollars to repair roads damaged by emergency flood prevention efforts.

Although the Missouri River is down and the miles of levees are gone, the damage left behind leaves Fort Pierre swimming in debt.

Almost one year ago, the small town worked around the clock to build levees to save homes and businesses from unprecedented flooding along the Missouri River.

Now, heavy trucks coupled with rising groundwater destroyed many city streets which have yet to be repaired.

"We've got a long way to go to get our streets back in top condition," Mayor Sam Tidball said.

Tidball says repair estimates total $8 million, but the small city has less than $1.5 million set aside for road construction, forcing them to borrow several million dollars to fix the streets.

"That's a sizable sum. That is a tremendous sum for our little community, so it will take us a while to grow out of that," Tidball said.

While the city doesn't have the money to pay for the roads in its pocket, Tidball says building the emergency levee was an investment. Had the city not had it, the price tag could have been substantially higher.

"It's going to be a big problem for us, but we are very fortunate we got those levees built and it protected and saved an awful lot of damage. It would have been millions and millions [of dollars] more had we not got those levees built," Tidball said.

Road construction will likely begin as early as this summer.

Fort Pierre is currently in the process of claiming money from FEMA to pay for costs associated with last summer's flooding. However, Tidball says most of it will be used to pay back loans from the state to build the levees along the Missouri River.

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