Floodwaters damage reservation bridges, roads

Pierre, South Dakota (AP) 4-09

High water this spring has damaged bridges, washed out roads and flooded some homes on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, which straddles the North Dakota-South Dakota border.

Ron His Horse Is Thunder, the tribal chairman, says at least two bridges have been damaged. One, near Wakpala, started leaning and was closed after it was damaged by floodwaters, he said.

His Horse Is Thunder said one-way traffic is all that is permitted on the other damaged bridge, which is on the main highway between Kenel, S.D., and Fort Yates, N.D.

“We’ve been examining all the bridges on the reservation, but we know of two absolutely that have to be replaced due to the flooding that we’ve had,” he said.

The bridge on the Kenel road is critical to traffic on the reservation, His Horse Is Thunder said.

He said tribal officials also are concerned with flooded homes.

“The floodwaters have receded now, and we’re dealing with homes that have flooded out,” the tribal chairman said. “Some people can’t return, so we’re taking a look at seeing how we’re going to handle housing issues on the reservation as well as all the roads that were washed out, both tribal and county roads ... we’re going to have to build a whole bunch more roads.”