During the informational open house Thursday in Pierre, officials discussed the construction of the new bridge over the Missouri River connecting Pierre and Fort Pierre.

With a current estimated cost of $50 million, the project is contracted to Jensen Construction Company based in Des Moines, Iowa. Tristan Weaver is the project superintendent. Of the many subcontractors, eight are based in South Dakota. Of those, five are based in Pierre or Fort Pierre. According to Ryan Cheeseman with Jensen Construction, the local subcontractors are:

Anderson Contractors, Inc. — Fort Pierre/Pierre,

Brosz Engineering, Inc. — Pierre,

East Pierre Landscape — Pierre,

Morris Inc. — Fort Pierre/Pierre,

Word Reclamation, Pierre,

Dakota Traffic Services — Tea,

Muth Electric — Mitchell, and

Project Solutions — Rapid City.

Underwater work has already begun, according to Denae Johnson, project coordinator with Project Solutions Inc. Substructure work includes placing drilled shafts for the foundation.

Above-water work should begin in April 2021.

Being constructed just 10 feet upriver from the current bridge, the new one will feature the same name — the Lt. Cmdr. John C. Waldron Bridge — as the current 58-year-old bridge. The new four-lane traffic bridge will be more than 1,686 feet long, almost 78 feet wide, and is expected to be completed before 2024. The single pedestrian walkway, on the down-river side, will be 12 feet wide, with two watch-ways jutting out another 8 feet.

Phase 1 of the project is approach and bridge work;

Phase 2 is westbound lane construction;

Phase 3 is eastbound lane construction;

Phase 4 is construction of the Pierre and Fort Pierre plazas on each shore, as well as deconstruction of the old bridge.

Architectural lighting, different from lighting the way for traffic or for pedestrians and cyclists, is meant to illuminate the bridge itself, on top and underneath.

Boat traffic on the Missouri River will remain open, though people must keep a safe distance from all equipment. The water level of the Missouri River below the Oahe Dam will not be lowered for construction.

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