Governor Vows Aid For Flooded Communities; SR 350 Bridge In Aurora Closed Indefinitely

By Mike Perleberg Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb met with Aurora Mayor Donnie Hastings, Dearborn County Commissioner Shane McHenry, and Aurora Fire Chief Jeff Lane on Monday, February 26. Photo by Mike Perleberg, Eagle Country 99.3. (Aurora, Ind.) - State and local leaders are still attempting to assess the damage from the Ohio River Flood of 2018. Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb visited flood damaged communities in southeastern Indiana Monday. Holcomb visited Madison before flying into Aurora to meet with local leaders and offer state resources to aid in the recovery. “We want the local leadership, the families that are making their way here in Dearborn County to know that we're going to be here every step of the way. We're not just here today,” the governor said. Dearborn and Switzerland counties are already on a list of 11 counties which Holcomb declared disaster areas last Saturday. The declaration means the Indiana Department of Homeland Security can provide expanded emergency services, and that the state may be able to request federal assistance. “How can we help more? Whether it’s INDOT or the Indiana National Guard or DNR or housing. The list just goes on and on and on,” Holcomb said, as residents nearby continued to pump water from their basements and some businesses remained flooded. Ohio County was not among seven new southern Indiana counties added to that list Monday, bringing the total to 18.

Our state agencies will continue to work hand-in-hand with local emergency management teams around the state to help families weather the tragedies they are facing. I’m amazed by their resiliency. pic.twitter.com/K6nhsbotab

— Eric Holcomb (@GovHolcomb) February 26, 2018 Holcomb encouraged property owners who have suffered damage due to flooding to report it to the Indiana Department of Homeland Security. Reports can be made online at http://bit.ly/2018rainfall. The governor’s office said the State Emergency Operations Center was activated last Thursday morning and continues to maintain a statewide operating picture concerning the status of the ongoing flooding and respond to requests for assistance from local officials. The EOC has directly assisted counties by coordinating the delivery of more than 700,000 sandbags, two water pumps, heavy equipment and vehicles, labor crews, traffic control, UAV photography and subject matter expertise on disaster response and recovery. South Dearborn, Switzerland County, and Gallatin County school districts are closed again Tuesday due to the Ohio River flooding. Too many roads are impassable in those areas. The indefinite closure State Road 350 bridge at U.S. 50 in Aurora is a major reason that South Dearborn Community Schools are closed. Indiana Department of Transportation inspectors believe the bridge may have been damaged in the flood. “My understanding is that there is some visible damage on the deck of the bridge, but it’s something they think they can repair quickly,” said Dearborn County Commissioner Shane McHenry. “What they are concerned about is the underneath and until the water goes down quite a few feet, they can’t get underneath there to fully inspect the bridge so it’s going to be closed indefinitely until that time.” McHenry said he is communicating with South Dearborn Schools administrators about the status of the bridge and other roads. The timeline is a concern for the school district, which is in the testing window for ISTEP exams. “We have several county roads underwater that we couldn’t get a bus to some of our students if we had to. Everyday we are speaking with them and updating them on the conditions, so until some of those roads improve and we can get the 350 bridge back open, I think it’s going to be an issue where school is going to be closed until then,” said McHenry. There is some good news for local motorists. State Road 56 between Aurora and Rising Sun and State Line Road at U.S. 50 reopened to traffic Monday. U.S. 50 at the railroad underpass near Oberting Road in Greendale reopened Tuesday morning. You can view the list of the remaining road closures here. In Ohio, Hamilton County Commissioners are urging residents in flood-ravaged communities to have patience as the waters recede.  The commissioners voted Monday to declare a state of emergency in an effort to receive state and federal relief funds. RELATED STORIES: AUDIO: Officials Discuss Dearborn County Flooding Local Roads Shut Down Due To Flooding PHOTOS: Flood Of 2018

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