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Flood knocks D&I Railroad out of service

PIERRE -- Its manager said Wednesday that much of the Dakota and Iowa Railroad's track is under water from heavy rains that flooded southeastern South Dakota in recent days.

"We are out of service completely from Canton to Elk Point," Jack Parliament told the state Railroad Board. He is a past member of the board.

Twelve miles of track and four bridges are under water, and two other bridges are damaged, along the Big Sioux River, where floodwaters reached two to three feet above previous record levels, according to Parliament.

He said it could be weeks to months before service could fully resume, and there's no estimated dollar amount of damage.

"We're in dire straits down here right now," Parliament said.

State Transportation Secretary Darin Bergquist said he would assemble disaster-relief information to Parliament.

Two ethanol production plants will need to find other means of transportation and deliveries of aggregate rock will have to be reconfigured, Parliament said.

"We will be looking for money, needless to say," he said.

The Dakota and Iowa Railroad is a subsidiary of L.G. Everist, Inc., one of the region's largest producers of stone, sand and gravel.

"I guess we figure how lucky we are at times -- victim of location," state board chairman Todd Yeaton, of Kimball, said.

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