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Study says highway relocation not responsible for historic flooding


St. Joseph County says INDOT is not responsible for historic flooding.

A study paid for by the county showed the relocation of US 31 had no concrete effect on flooding in the Jewel Woods neighborhood last August.

The county attorney says he is as shocked by the results as anyone else.

“We thought that there would be some liability on the part of INDOT, and that their changes would be largely responsible for what occurred out there,” county attorney Jamie Woods said.

The study was paid for by the county but conducted by McCormick Engineering, to look at Phillips Ditch and whether or not the Indiana Department of Transportation could be held accountable for damages.

“The rain event caused this. There were not any engineering events that could have been taken or should have been taken that could have in any way allowed for this event not to occur,” Woods said.

This news comes after 35 flood victims have taken legal action against the state, and the county was prepared to do the same.

Whether the highway relocation effects outcomes of other storm events has yet to be seen.

“Each storm event has different intensities and frequency,” County Engineer Jessica Clark said.

Those different storm patterns are the next step for research.

The county is now looking for help from FEMA to do flood mapping, to see if smaller storms were affected by US 31.

They’re also looking into putting in a detention pond in for future floods, and working for continuing relief for the severe weather victims.

“Now it’s turned to supporting them every way we can,” Woods said.

The county says they are demanding INDOT clear the culvert under US 20, which was likely clogged by the August flooding event.

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