Local News

Highway 11 Bridge Re-Opens, Why Crews Closed It Twice

SPLIT ROCK, S.D. - After closing twice in just a few days, a bridge on South Dakota Highway 11, near Split Rock Creek, is open again. Crews have been monitoring it due to flooding from heavy rains. The bridge also closed on Thursday. 

"A lot of people see there's not water on the road, 'why is it closed?'" Travis Dressen, South Dakota Department of Transportation area engineer, said. 

Here's why. Crews built the bridge in 1963. Dressen says this bridge is what's called a scour critical bridge. Dressen says the bridge is essentially pretty susceptible to erosion.  He says workers have been watching and using a device to make sure the high water doesn't expose the wood foundation or make the bridge unsafe or unsound. 

"Once those water levels drop, our crews come out, we measure the stream bed profiles to see how much material is actually lost and make a determination from there," Dressen said. 

Recently, Dressen says workers gave the top of the bridge some upgrades. 

"With the Highway 11 reconstruction, was placing an epoxy seal on the bridge deck and doing some joint work at the bridge end. Nothing under the structure," Dressen said. 

So, why work on the top but not underneath, to avoid having to close it during heavy rains? Dressen says there are about 144 other bridges in the state like this one. He also says there are other bridge replacements and projects that are higher priorities to keep drivers safe. 

Brady Mallory: "Is this safe for them?"
Dressen: "Yes, this bridge is safe. Really this is being proactive. Taking a conservative approach we know, if there are issues, make sure the bridge is closed. We have a chance to look at it before it's re-opened."
 


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