Highway officials closed a bridge last week that crosses the Big Sioux River just west of Baltic. Wednesday evening, they'll hold a meeting to answer questions about why it was closed so suddenly.
The bridge is 56-years old, and according to officials, that's fairly old when it comes to bridges.
When looking at the bridge from the topside, it doesn't seem too bad. But a closer look reveals heaving and pot holes. On the underside, it's even worse.
"The structural beams holding up the deck are in very bad shape. We call that system the superstructure. The superstructure itself has really bad deficiencies associated with it that prompted the closure," Minnehaha County Highway Superintendent DJ Buthe said.
Buthe showed officials from the DOT exactly what's wrong with the bridge. You can even see holes deteriorated in all the way through the support beams. It's something Buthe now wants to show the public at the open house Wednesday evening.
"We'll have some pictures of the structure, pictures of what is wrong with the structure so that they have an understanding that it wasn't just a knee jerk reaction that they closed the bridge," Buthe said.
He says they'll also have detour routes and maps showing other bridges with weight limit posts on them. There will be no formal presentation at the meeting. He says people can simply show up and they'll have staff on hand to answer any questions.
“We just encourage people to come out, we know we have an issue with this bridge and its unfortunate that it had to be closed," Buthe said.
Officials were planning on re-doing the bridge in 2014. They're now working to get that done next year.
The meeting will be at the Baltic High School commons area Wednesday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.