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DOT Seeks Public Help For Pierre Bridge

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For the residents of Pierre and Fort Pierre, it’s a life line.


The two communities are separated by the country's longest river and connected only by one bridge and that causeway is aging.


The bridge has seen 10 different governors cross it, the first being Archie M. Gubbrud in 1962.


“Today we're at 50 years, now, with this existing bridge. It's showing its age,” said Kevin Goeden, the chief bridge engineer of the South Dakota Department of Transportation.


The Highway 14 causeway is safe for any load to traverse.


“We did a major rehabilitation in 2008 and 2009 about a $4.8 million project to remedy some of the concrete and repair some of the concrete,” said Goeden.


Those repairs added life to the aging bridge. But, state officials are looking for a permanent fix and that means replacing the Pierre-Ft. Pierre connector.


So, Department of Transportation officials began a study looking everything from traffic to the environment and now they want the public to weigh in. 


“We will be going through various concept options for the potential new bridge, trying to gage a feel for the general public.  We want to know what their opinions are of those options,” said Steve Gramm, a data analysis engineer for the SDDOT.


The Missouri River Bridge has reached life expectancy and its replacement, whatever it looks like, should stand for 100 years. And state officials want to keep the public in the loop before choosing a design.  


“What do we want the next generation to think of our generation when the look at that bridge in 2100,” asked Gramm.


The sun hasn't set on the current bridge. Still in the early stages of planning, officials don't expect to see a new Missouri River Bridge open for traffic until 2025.


The South Dakota Department of transportation will hold a public meeting looking for input on Tuesday from 5:30pm-7:30pm at the Ramkota Conference Center in Pierre.

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