PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Another milestone has been made on the $49.9M Pierre-Fort Pierre bridge Thursday, November 9th. According to the Pierre/Fort Pierre Bridge Project, this bridge has graduated into phase two of four phases.

Crews began an elaborate process of pouring concrete for the bridge deck which requires several critical steps and continuous inspections.

As you see in the slideshow, a calculated amount of water is sprayed on the deck and formwork. Next crews use a truck to “pump” the liquid concrete across the beams and entire bridge while distributing the weight evenly.

Next, a self-propelled concrete paver is used to level the concrete while the team rake it to assure an even more balanced distribution.

The concrete is covered with tarps or blankets, to keep it moist while it cures. Our unseasonably warmer weather is helping with the curing as crews also manage the temperature with heated coils. This process is repeated across the entire length of the bridge which expands 1,686 feet and almost 78 feet wide.

After years of inspections and planning, it was determined by the S.D. Department of Transportation that a new bridge be built. Construction of the new bridge began in November 2020. The first phase of the project included installing support shafts, one of which was 135 feet long, equivalent to a 13-floor building.

Through the project phases, two or three of four lanes have been closed to make it possible for the crews to continue work on the project. Traffic has resumed in one or two lanes between the cities.

This bridge is being built just 10 feet north of the existing John C. Waldron Memorial Bridge. It will replace the Waldron Bridge which was completed in 1962. Pierre and Fort Pierre are divided by the Missouri River and the bridge has been the main connection between the cities.

It is anticipated that this project be open for vehicle traffic in the summer of 2024 with a total completion date of summer 2025. It will include a 12-foot wide walkway, upper lighting and lower lighting for safety and aesthetics.