SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — When the 6th Street bridge through downtown Sioux Falls reopens in 2024, it will be with a new look.

According to Sioux Falls Principal Engineer Wes Philips, who spoke to KELOLAND News on-site Friday, there will be some major differences between the old and new bridge.

Philips noted that the old bridge was four-lanes across, a volume that was not needed. For the new bridge, some of that size will be reclaimed for pedestrian use along the bridge, which will have areas from which people can overlook the river and the Arc of Dreams.

While the bridge will be a bit more simple in style than the 8th Street bridge to the south, it will have things such as boxes for plants to add visual aspects.

Philips said the target for completion of the bridge project will be around September of 2024. While the bridge itself is the main focal point of the endeavor, the reality is that the project is actually broken into several sections, including relaying of the street surface and the burial of utility conduits under the surface.

There’s a lot of work yet to do of course, but the vision of the bridge is beginning to take shape. Looking at it on August 18, there was a bridge of sorts in place, constructed out of steel, rebar and wood.

Bridge form – Aug. 18, 2023

This is not the bridge itself, but rather the construction of the form of the bridge. Concrete will be poured into this wooden casing, which will then be removed, leaving a concrete bridge arching across support pedestals across the river.

One of the first steps of the project was the building of a causeway across the river, Philips explained. This provides a foundation from which to work on the structure. It will be removed following completion of the project.

Constructed causeway

While the causeway looks solid, it does allow for the flow of water beneath it, made possible with the use of more than two dozen metal culverts running beneath it.

Further up the street, yet more work is being done, as blasting and digging is carried out to lay utility lines below the surface. This is a process made somewhat difficult, as bedrock lays just feet below the surface in much of the area.

While there have been some expected setbacks and delays that one would associate with any construction process, Philips says progress is going well, and that the dry conditions throughout the summer have been an advantage to the crews working on the project.