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I-29 bridge to be turned into a levee

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news Mitchell, 57301
Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

By Dirk Lammers

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ELK POINT — Crews will turn an Interstate 29 exchange bridge into a makeshift levee in an effort to protect much of the town of North Sioux City from Big Sioux River flooding spurred by recent heavy rainfall, South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard said Wednesday.

But water from the crest expected sometime between today and Saturday will likely spill into the neighborhood of McCook Lake, an area of North Sioux City of about 300 to 400 homes, the governor said. It’s not yet known how high the levels will rise, but some homes are expected to be damaged.

“We’re going to do the best we can to moderate that damage,” Daugaard said during a news conference in Elk Point. Severe storms moved across parts of eastern South Dakota on Monday, closing roads, fl ooding streets, highways and fields and increasing flows in the Big Sioux River.

The heaviest rain fell far north of Sioux City, but that water is now making it down to Union County via the river. The Big Sioux is expected to crest at 109 feet — 10 feet above the height where flooding begins — in Sioux City, Iowa, on Friday evening. That’s more than the 108.3 feet record set in 1969.

Daugaard on Tuesday declared a state of emergency and opened an operations center.

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