Bridges needing prompt attention

The Christenson Bridge, as it is locally known, is located on County Road 9A, and is located northwest of Flandreau. - Brenda Wade Schmidt

Eight Moody County bridges are in poor condition, including a bridge that the county plans to replace if it can qualify for the state’s Bridge Improvement Grant money.
Another 16 are in fair condition while 32 are in good condition, an inspection of bridges last summer showed. Clark Engineering did the inspection which is intended to help the county prioritize bridge repairs.
The Christenson bridge, also called the Egan road bridge because it is nine miles north of Egan, is deteriorating badly, the inspection showed.
 “The deck is just crumbling on us. We decided to go out and dig our heals in, and it just crumbled. We’ve gotten our life out of this bridge,” said Steve Myer, with Clark Engineering. “It’s just corroding those girders. That’s why we dropped the load limits on it.”
The county will apply this month for BIG money to replace the bridge and will find out in March or April if it has gotten a grant to help pay for the more than $2 million it will cost to replace the bridge. In the meantime, work has been done to beef up girders to get the bridge to last until work can be done.
The county’s estimated cost share for the bridge would be $424,360 if awarded money through the BIG program. This year, the state grant program is expected to have additional money it can allocate for bridge repairs and replacement. Moody County previously got a grant to replace the Ward Road bridge, which was recently completed.
Grants are allocated in part on how bad the bridge’s condition is and how much traffic crosses the bridge. Each bridge is assigned a number based on the qualifiers for the grant money, and that number competes with other bridges in the state in the grant process.
Moody County should have a good chance at getting a grant for the Christenson bridge, Myer said.
The engineering firm had ideas for other bridges in the county, too.
A bridge over the Big Sioux River southwest of Egan would last another 40 years if the deck could be replaced, for example. “The trouble with this bridge is it’s over the Big Sioux. It’s long so it’s going to be expensive,” Myer said.
The bridge 3.5 miles south and 2.6 miles west of Egan was built in 1976.
Another bridge northeast of Trent is showing wear that means it has been overloaded, he said. It should be posted with a load limit and considered for work in 10 years, he said.
“These deck units, they’re old,” he said. The substructure is also concerning. “This is worse than most.”
A bridge 1.7 miles north and six miles east of Flandreau is nearing the end of its life, the report said. The bridge should be posted because of the condition of the deck planks and substructure.
A bridge nine miles east and almost three miles south of Trent is scheduled to be replaced this year with a True North steel structure. The bridge initially was built in 1940.
Moody County also has a lot of good bridges. “You guys aren’t in it in a bad way,” Myer said. “There’s a lot of counties that have it a lot worse off.”
The average replacement cost for bridges inspected is $817,221, the inspection showed. The total replacement cost for bridges needing attention is $23,669,400.
“You’re taking action. That’s good,” Myer said. “You’re taking care the problems. You’re not sticking your heads in the sand.”

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