We dodged a major public safety bullet – Bruce Danielson

I took some photos on Monday evening under the 11th Street viaduct. What I saw shocked me and should cause everyone in Sioux Falls to consider the consequences of our mayor’s rail relocation project. What if this rail car was a hazardous chemical, crude oil, ethanol instead of grain? What would have happened to the core of Sioux Falls? Downtown could have been eliminated. Potentially thousands of people would have had to be evacuated if they had not been killed.

The photo was taken by me during the early clean-up process. It shows one of the rail cars close to causing the viaduct to collapse. The four cars are on their sides with grain spilling out and the workers are sucking the grain up.

Had the train car been 1 foot from where it landed on its side, the viaduct would have been on the ground. The bridge support you see in the photo would have been knocked out causing the bridge to fall or to be damaged so much the viaduct would have to be closed.

The lies of the Huether administration are resting on shaky pilings. The next seemingly insignificant derailment could have caused the mass evacuation of large areas of Sioux Falls. Depending on the chemical spilled the radius can be anywhere from 3/4 of a mile to several miles.

I have asked in several city meetings, what is the town’s disaster recovery plan for any major events and I get only blank stares or claims of computer simulations. We don’t even have mutual aid ambulance agreements in place yet. This event proves how disgustingly bad the Huether administration has been in protecting our safety and the aftermath of real disasters. Remember the sewer pipe collapse and raw sewage being dumped down residential streets and into the river? It appears their only answer has been and will always be if Mike can’t put a fun face on it, it didn’t happen so don’t worry about it.

When that next derailment happens, where will miracle Mike be when this happens (because you know it will)? He will blame it on everyone else and claim it was the fault of the mayor who happens to be in office at the time.

DaCola’s NOTE: I’ve been a bit surprised over the last few days about how apathetic people and the media have been about this derailment. Most just shrug their shoulders and say, “Well a disaster didn’t happen, so what’s the big deal?” The ‘Big Deal’ is what if? What if it was a combination of all the bad elements? A chemical spill, a fire and a viaduct collapse all at once? What would our emergency efforts be then? These are the questions our city council and media need to be asking. Would we be prepared to clean up such a mess, would we have enough first responders and ambulances? Or would we have to depend on Lyft?


#1 WRONG on 03.28.18 at 1:28 pm

Good point about the chemical spill! Just one more example of why pipelines are better than rail.

#2 The D@ily Spin on 03.28.18 at 1:34 pm

Super-Nero Huether would enjoy a disaster playing his Lyre from atop the new city admin building. Meanwhile, he can enjoy PBR gladiators giving thumbs up or down from his box at the Denty.

#3 "Very Stable Genius" on 03.28.18 at 1:36 pm

It’s not a big deal, because such incidents are merely left to OSHA. For everyone else, “It’s business as usual”…. (Hey Legacy, can you build us a ramp/hotel?…..)

#4 The D@ily Spin on 03.28.18 at 1:36 pm

Is there a Super Nero award?

#5 OldSlewFoot on 03.28.18 at 2:48 pm

This has been a gripe of mine for years. We have 4-5 100 car oil trains traveling through Sioux Falls every week. XL pipeline will not begin construction until 2019 to alleviate much of the train traffic.

If the people living in their very nice houses on or near
Southeastern would think about the fact that 3 million gallons of explosive liquid is passing within 1/4 mile of their houses 4 or more times a week, maybe they would want an evacuation plan.

Heck Sioux Falls Christian is less than a football field from those rails. Look at the map and think of how many homes are basically right next to that track as it goes through town.

#6 Bruce on 03.28.18 at 3:25 pm

No matter where anyone lives or works in the Sioux Falls area, this is an issue way beyond the trains. I question any disaster preparation in Sioux Falls.

#7 "Very Stable Genius" on 03.28.18 at 3:27 pm


Yet, that part of town hasn’t an opponent for Kiley….. Oh the bliss of those, who take part in the “Taupe Housing Society of Conformity”…….(I wonder if soot residue still qualifies as taupe?)

#8 Blasphemo on 03.28.18 at 9:32 pm

Disaster preparation plan? That’s a no-brainer. Just sign a blank taxpayers’ check to hire another consultant to conduct a “study” and prepare a “report”. After all, our municipal employee department managers are far too busy to be bothered with such things – what, with priorities such as new municipal administration building construction, indoor aquatic center maintenance and Foundation Park infrastructure to attend to.