Work wrapping up on bridge project

HURON — In addition to the question of ‘who are you voting for?’ and ‘How about this weather?’ another question has been on the minds of many in the Huron area.

When is the Highway 37 bridge north of town going to reopen?

According to Brad Letcher, an engineer for the S.D. Department of Transportation’s office in Huron, that date is getting closer.

“We are really hoping to have the bridge open by Thanksgiving,” Letcher said Friday morning. “The plan, of course, was that it would have been open a year ago, but things have kinda got tossed in the air.”

Letcher said that work crews are expected to pour the cement for the deck early next week.

“There are the approach pads to pour, some asphalt work, and barriers and guardrails have to be installed as well.” Letcher said that the concrete mix used in the decking cures over four weeks.

The project that began in early 2019 suffered from extensive moisture throughout that spring and summer, then was impacted as well by the onset of the COVID-19 virus, before engineers learned that when the bridge was replaced before, large chunks of material were simply dropped down into the James River. The presence of those pieces of construction rubble hindered placement of supports for the new bridge, further delaying the project.

“I have learned with this project to not say it will open on such and such a date,” Letcher said. “Let’s just say that I am cautiously optimistic that the bridge will be open by Thanksgiving.”


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