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Department Of Transportation Awards Eight Million For Bridge Repairs

Charles Michael Ray

Nearly 20 bridges in South Dakota are getting replaced or improved thanks to new funding passed by the South Dakota legislature. The South Dakota Transportation Commission approved eight million dollars for bridge improvement projects across the state.

 Darin Bergquist is the Secretary of Transportation. He says funding for the Bridge Improvement Grant program came out of legislation passed in the 2015 session. 

“A year ago during the 2015 legislative session, the legislature passed Senate Bill 1, which is comprehensive road and bridge funding package,” says Bergquist. “And they included in that the establishment of what we call the ‘BIG’ program which is the local Bridge Improvement Grant program. It’s funded with a combination of state dollars from the DOT and some of the money that’s being raised from the increased license fees.”

More than 30 counties applied for the grant money. 

19 bridge projects will receive funding. Bergquist says bridge replacement grants were ranked on a point system.

“A lot of factors go into the ranking of those,” says Bergquist. “The condition of the bridges, amount of traffic, impact to local businesses or residences, length of detours, how close the project is to being constructed. All things go into that ranking criteria.”

Other areas for the grants include funding for hydraulic analysis and structural tests. Each grant awarded was limited to a maximum of four million per project over a three year period.