SIOUX FALLS, SD -
There's been one bridge collapse already this year in South Dakota. That was in Beadle County a few weeks ago. Thankfully, no one was hurt.
Inspection crews have their hands full this year with all the flooding we've had and Tuesday, engineers were taking a hard look at the Cliff Avenue bridge below Tuthill Park in Sioux Falls.
From ice jams in the spring to heavy rain in the summer, bridges in South Dakota have taken a beating this year. The Cliff Avenue one was built in 1959 and according to engineers, it's starting to show its age.
"There are a couple of bolts right down on the post, we'll have them tightened. A little bit of concrete cracking that's falling away," bridge inspector Steve Myer of Clark Engineering said.
But Myer says drivers shouldn't be too worried just because they're inspecting this bridge.
"It's a regular inspection. Every bridge in America that's over 20 feet long is inspected every two years," Myer said.
And the timing just happens to come during a difficult year. So once again, they're going over every square inch, checking for broken welds, loose bolts and cracking concrete. It's a slow and sometimes uncomfortable process.
But Myer says bridges are designed to withstand a lot of what Mother Nature can offer. After taking pictures and notes, they believe the Cliff Avenue bridge is structurally safe for drivers.
"It's getting old but it's in good shape. It's starting to show signs of age, but we're going to get a lot of life out of it," Myer said.
Wednesday, lanes will be reduced on the Bahnson Avenue bridge over the Big Sioux River. Thursday, crews will inspect the Benson Road bridge over the diversion channel and the Minnesota Avenue bridge over the diversion channel. On Friday, they'll be looking at the bridge on Madison Street over the Big Sioux River. Traffic will be maintained in both directions at all times.
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