Bridge deficiency spurs closure near Baltic
Replacement may take year or more; meeting for public questions Sept. 19 at H.S.
September 18. 2012 7:00AM
With the Highway 114 bridge west of Baltic closed for the immediate future, traffic through the city will be rerouted, and the structure’s replacement may not reopen until this time next year.
The Minnehaha County Highway Department closed the bridge Tuesday after a regular inspection revealed structural flaws in the bridge’s support.
The county has made the project, which will include a full replacement, a priority and will work toward a late-summer, early-fall 2013 completion date. Engineers held an emergency meeting last Wednesday to discuss options with the 1957-built bridge.
The bridge was scheduled to be replaced in 2014, but the deficiencies have spurred the highway department to move the project up the priority list, according to department superintendent D.J. Buthe.
“In the deficiency that we found, there are no immediate repairs that can be done to the bridge,” he said. “A typical design life for a bridge is 50 to 75 years, so it’s very close to its design life.”
The budgeted amount for the replacement was between $2.5 million and 3 million, which could rise due to expedition, according to Buthe.
Though the structure, which is built over the Big Sioux River and serves as an access point for the Baltic River Park, was previously part of the City of Baltic, it was de-annexed, along with some land around it, to Minnehaha County.
“It’s important all-around,” he said. A public meeting will be held tonight, Sept. 19, from 5:30-7:30 p.m., at the Baltic High School to help citizens understand the issues involved with the closure.
At the Baltic City Council’s meeting last Tuesday, maintenance administrative assistant Ryan Fods asked the group to consider stressing the installation of a walkway on the replacement bridge.
“If they’re going to be designing something they might as well do that right away,” he said, citing foot traffic coming to and from the nearby River Park.
The council gave Mayor Wendland the directive to discuss the walkway option with engineers as decisions are made.
**Argus Leader Media reporter Joe Sneve contributed to this report.