Record wet weather still impacting area roads

BROOKINGS – Brookings County is offering a grant to every township that applied and received aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency in March due to flooding.

The grant offered is 25 percent of what will be received in FEMA funding. The total FEMA aid approved in Brookings County earlier this year was $365,183.49, so the grant total comes to $91,295.87. Nineteen townships applied for aid back in March.

At the Nov. 5 Brookings County Commission meeting, representatives from Trenton Township notified commissioners that the township was in the red financially due to constantly repairing roads and other infrastructure.

One of the main issues that many of the townships are facing is that after repairing what could be fixed after the spring flooding, much of that effort was washed away a second time due to the September flooding. 

As of Nov. 13, five townships had applied for this grant: Afton, Aurora, Elkton, Laketon and Trenton.

The Brookings County Highway Department also discussed issues about two bridges that are closed on Highway 77 near 220th Street.

The temporary dams that construction crews have set-up so they can rebuild the bridges are starting to be breeched by water. County Highway Superintendent Brian Gustad said construction began last spring to redo the bridges, but only three weeks’ worth of work has been accomplished.

Due to the water level being so high and other weather-related issues, the bridges have not come anywhere close to being finished. 

Gustad put in a request for an extension to finish the bridges by August 2020.

One of the other issues that the county is facing is the constant movement of the warning signs on Highway 77 indicating that the road is closed. The signs were placed by an intersection that – unless otherwise moved – prevented large farming equipment from travelling through the area. 

County Commissioner Lee Ann Pierce said that she frequently travels through the area and the signage has been missing. 

As of the Nov. 19 county commission meeting, the commissioners were working on what type of signage or barrier would work best for both traffic and also preventing cars from travelling down Highway 77.

Contact Matthew Rhodes at [email protected]


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