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July 16, 2013 09:59 PM

Baltic Bridge Back Open

Baltic, SD

The Baltic bridge reopened Tuesday after Minnehaha County authorities closed it over safety concerns nearly a year ago.

The more than 40-year-old bridge on the town’s west edge was replaced this spring and the city celebrated the reopening of a main route through Baltic Tuesday evening.

“The rust was really bad, eating out the end of the beams, so it had to be done,” Doug Barse with Swingen Construction said.

And of all those going across this new Baltic bridge Tuesday, perhaps no one has more a frame of reference of what they can do for the community than 98-year-old Orlando “Eric” Erickson.

“When I was in high school, my buddy and I spun out in the middle of it with a Model-T Ford,” Erickson said.

He also recalled being stuck on the wrong side of the Big Sioux during the construction of the bridge the new one replaced.

“When the other bridge was built and you had a temporary bridge out here, down below and across the Big Sioux," Erickson said.

“It's sitting on the existing piers. So, we had to use the same length beams we ordered, same height, width, everything,” Barse said.

Barse said the new bridge should last even longer than the previous one.

The 370 feet of concrete have put the community back together making for the last time in a long time.

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