South Dakota roads suffered widespread damages

Capitol News Bureau
County, township leaders say rural roads in "terrible shape"

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — State and local roads are hurting, a lot, in South Dakota right now.

Late-winter snow in mid-March and heavy spring rains in late May left government officials wondering when the wet would end.

The South Dakota Department of Transportation assigned engineer Tammy Williams to start calculating the losses.

Crews are still waiting for the water to go down in many places.

Williams gave the state Transportation Commission some early numbers Thursday.

She said damages from the March storms reached more than $6 million on county roads and $1.5 million on state highways.

County governments haven’t yet figured out how much work is waiting from the May snow and ice.

Counties want special inspections of 261 bridges across South Dakota, according to Williams.

Twelve bridges have been closed and three have traffic confined to single lanes because officials don’t know how much weight the structures can bear.

“We anticipate there may be more (bridge) damage out there,” Williams told commissioners.

As an example, she said ice three feet thick piled over — over — a county bridge north of Wagner.

Townships are feeling pain too. Federal aid will cover 75 percent, leaving local residents to fill the gap.

“That can get stiff for some of the townships,” said commissioner Mike Vehle of Mitchell.

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