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Commission 'Officially' Closes Baltic Bridge

September 25, 2012, 6:04 PM by Brady Mallory

Commission 'Officially' Closes Baltic Bridge

It connects the outside world to Baltic, but it might be more fitting to call it a bridge to disaster.

"It's obvious, to me, who is not an engineer, that different places are cracked and rusted through.  It's a mess," Minnehaha County Commissioner Cindy Heiberger said.

Though it has been shutdown by the Minnehaha County Highway Department for weeks, the Minnehaha County Commission has officially closed the bridge on Highway 114, or the Baltic Bridge.  

Repairs to the substructure could cost about $1.2 million, but officials say it is more likely that bridge will have to be completely rebuilt.  Replacing the bridge could cost $2.5 million.  Until then, it is not enough to just keep heavy trucks and machinery off of it.

"We have portions of the deck starting to collapse.  It has sagged two to three inches between the beams and the concrete has deteriorated," Assistant Highway Superintendent for Minnehaha County Tom Wilsey said.

For now, if you are coming from I-29, you will be detoured to County Highway 133 to County Highway 122.  The detour eventually leads to 5th Street, which is in need of some updates, too.  

"I drove down that road and that is probably the worst washboarding ever.  That was just five to 10 miles per hour in my Tahoe," Commission Chairman Dick Kelly said.

To prepare it, Baltic officials will spend $100,000 to re-pave part of 5th Street.  Minnehaha County is lending the equipment and man power.

"We have that road grated every week.  That's how fast it deteriorates.  Now, with all the extra traffic that is being put on the road, I graciously ask for your support," Wilsey said.

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