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County declared disaster area by commissioners

Up to 15 inches of rain in some areas during the past month, caused flooding across the county last Friday, June 6, 2008, which in turn was bad enough that the Haakon County Board of Commissioners declared the county a disaster area at a special meeting Monday, June 9. Not present at the meeting were commissioners Don Eymer and Mel Smith.

"The roads are in tough shape," reported Kenny Neville, Haakon County highway superintendent. "We lost some culverts, a bridge, gravel and fill dirt." Neville estimated that water ran over Haakon County roads in 150 to 200 places.

The bridge that was lost was located on the road that leads to the old O'Neill place. Neville noted when he had checked on the bridge during the late afternoon of Friday, June 6, the water was flowing under the bridge with no obstructions. Sometime after that water started leaving a dam at a fast rate which caused the flooding and debris to possibly build up. Those factors led to the deck of the bridge being lifted off the pilings and pushed down the creek. Neville stated the pilings looked okay and the deck also might be reusable.

Neville noted that the bridge was rebuilt in 1986 and is part of the state's system and is inspected routinely.

The board approved for Neville to contact Brosz Engineering and have them look at the pilings and bridge deck. A decision regarding their use will be made after the inspection. Neville stated the highway department will place a temporary culvert in the creek for now.

Other washouts included the road into the former Fairchild place. Neville noted that about one-half of a mile onto the road the culvert washed out in a steep draw.

Numerous other culverts washed out around the county. A couple are on 11 Mile Road. Neville said culvert replacements will be done first and then the department will follow-up with blading on those county roads where water washed away sand and gravel. Some of the washed out culvert locations will receive a temporary fix until the culverts are received and then placed.

"We will do the severe areas first and then get to the others in time," Neville said. "Most roads are open, but people will have to drive with care."

Neville noted that highway department employees had been working the past weekend to make the roads passable for county residents. Many roads that were closed are now open to vehicles.

Judy Olney, First Western Agency, reported back to the commissioners on a quote regarding workmen's compensation, liability and property insurance. The board compared her quotes and those from Brad Wilson, South Dakota Municipal League's pool.

The board voted to approve Olney's quote as they did not wish to become involved with another insurance pool at this time.

Courthouse custodian, Nancy Neville updated the board on a broken drain pipe that drains water from the courthouse roof to the south lawn. She stated Dustin Lurz had repaired the line but was wondering about other drainage options. No action was taken on this issue.