Bridge work

Cranes at work Thursday on the Stanley County side of the Missouri River.

Project coordinator Denae Johnson offered an update on Friday to the new Lt. Cmdr. John C. Waldron Memorial Bridge’s progress, saying temporary and permanent casing is currently being laid into the banks of the Missouri River.

“Once those are put in place, then they will drill down into the riverbed and down into the shale,” Johnson told the Capital Journal. “Once that is completed, then they will set in the rebar and then you will see lots of concrete trucks driving on that westbound north lane, and they will be dumping concrete down into the permanent casing and making that first shaft.”

Johnson said motorists should see some concrete pouring next week, and that current traffic control measures should stay the same when concrete trucks begin driving through. Though construction is on time at present, Johnson said workers will be working some Saturdays in the months to come to hopefully get ahead of schedule.

“The weather is finally cooperating and they want to get as much work done as they can when it is nice out,” Johnson said.

Construction begins not a moment too soon as the standing bridge joining Pierre and Fort Pierre is approaching the end of its lifespan. According to the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, the standing bridge, built in the early 1960s, is the third-most traveled “structurally deficient” bridge in the state of South Dakota, serving 15,450 motorists per day.

“The public’s going to probably see a lot is happening and construction progress over the next few weeks when things start rolling,” Johnson said. “Our website is going to be updated with pictures. We have a lot for April that we have to cut and sort, but they will all be posted to the website hopefully by next week and you can kind of see the progress from when the project started in December to already where it’s at now going into May.”

With construction on time, Johnson said the new bridge should be drivable in late 2022 with demolition of the old bridge still slated for 2023.

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