Highway 38 bridge repair controversy

Local News

SALEM, S.D. (KELO) — A bridge on South Dakota highway 38 just west of Salem is closed again. A tractor pulling heavy equipment broke the one lane, temporary bridge Thursday night.

Cathy Roling is taking a picture of the bridge she was so excited to see reopen this summer.

“This road has been closed since the flood about two years ago. They did a partial bridge this summer so that we could at least not have to go five to six miles out of the way to get to town from where we live,” area resident Cathy Roling said.

But that one lane bridge crumbled when a tractor pulling earth moving equipment tried to cross the span and got stuck.

It took crews from two towing companies pulling it slowly, inch by inch, to get it unstuck.

“The drawbar was caught into the bridge so we had to get it unhooked from the tractor to get it to lift out of there and that’s why we’re using the telehandler to pick it up. Getting it disconnected, so we can pull the tractor out as one piece,” Outlaw Repair and Recovery owner Lowell Langstraat said.

Finally the massive rig started moving not by inches, but foot by foot.

“That’s a good feeling, it’s like you won!” Langstraat said.

But for Roling, clearing the equipment is only a small win. She says this bridge has been neglected by lawmakers in Pierre for too long.

“The only reason that I’m interviewing today or come out today is to get that message out to the state that having a road closed on a major road like this one, that’s so important to us, having it closed for two years was unacceptable, but having it closed for another two more years is inexcusable,” Roling said.

The state DOT says there is damage to the bridge that will have to be repaired, but there’s not a time table yet for that work.

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