Back in 2011, South Dakota had the fifth-worst rate of bridge deficiency in the United States, with 20.3% of our bridges deemed structurally deficient. The $85 million in taxes we raised in 2015 must have done some good: WNAX reports that we’re down to 16.7% of our bridges being structurally deficient (of course, no separate count is given for how many of those structurally deficient bridges from 2011 have since fallen down and thus no longer count against us).
Alas, other states have made more progress on shoring up their bridges, so we’ve sunk from fifth-worst to fourth-worst, behind only Iowa, West Virginia, and Rhode Island. So says the latest report from the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (which, of course, has an interest in inducing us to spend more money on concrete and steel).
Nationwide, the percentage of structurally deficient bridges is 7.6%:
ARTBA summarizes South Dakota’s bridge needs thus:
- Of the 5,824 bridges in the state, 973, or 16.7 percent, are classified as structurally deficient. This means one of the key elements is in poor or worse condition.
- This is down from 1,068 bridges classified as structurally deficient in 2014.
- 4 of the structurally deficient bridges are on the Interstate Highway System.
- 1,120 bridges are posted for load, which may restrict the size and weight of vehicles crossing the structure.
- The state has identified needed repairs on 2,468 bridges at an estimated cost of $534.8 million.
- This compares to 2,543 bridges that needed work in 2014 [ARTBA, “National Bridge Inventory: South Dakota,” retrieved 2019.04.09].
5.0% of the bridges in Minnesota are structurally deficient. They have 668 structurally deficient bridges—bigger state, more cars and people, and they actually have fewer bridges in the most dire need of repair than South Dakota does.
I suspect Minnesotans will enjoy noting that SD stands for Structurally Deficient.
As a special bonus to brighten my day, the most traveled structurally deficient bridge in South Dakota is right here in Aberdeen, on Highway 12 over the swollen Moccasin Creek, just west of McDonald’s:
|Top Most Traveled Structurally Deficient Bridges in South Dakota|
|County||Year Built||Daily Crossings||Type of Bridge||Location|
|Brown||1954||19377||Urban other principal arterial||US012 over Moccasin Ck|
|Minnehaha||1979||18174||Urban collector||49th Street over Big Sioux River|
|Pennington||1959||10516||Urban Interstate||I090 E over Boxelder Ck|
|Minnehaha||1912||10163||Urban collector||8th Street over Big Sioux River|
|Minnehaha||1948||9815||Urban minor arterial||60th Street North over Silver Creek|
|Minnehaha||1960||6544||Rural Interstate||I090 W over Split Rock Ck|
|Minnehaha||1964||6485||Rural Interstate||I090 W over Sd019|
|Lawrence||1953||6425||Rural arterial||US014A over Deadwood Ck|
|Brown||1969||5087||Urban minor arterial||3rd Avenue SE over Moccasin Creek|
|Codington||1941||4837||Urban minor arterial||3rd Avenue NW over Big Sioux River|
|Pennington||1974||4700||Urban collector||Chapel Lane over Rapid Ck|
|Minnehaha||1967||3895||Rural minor arterial||Sd115 over Ck|
|Minnehaha||1978||3377||Rural major collector||478th Ave, Hwy 121 over Big Sioux River|
|Minnehaha||1961||3300||Urban collector||E 60th St N over I229|
|Edmunds||1974||2906||Rural arterial||US012 over Ck|
|Clay||1949||2890||Rural minor arterial||Sd046 over Vermillion Rv|
|Deuel||1971||2559||Rural arterial||US212 over Cain Ck|
|Brown||1974||2069||Urban collector||10th Avenue SE over Moccasin Creek|
|Minnehaha||1966||1961||Rural major collector||258th St, Hwy 130 over Big Sioux River|
|Mellette||1957||1690||Rural arterial||US083 over Little White Rv|
|Pennington||1947||1685||Rural arterial||US385 over Horse Ck|
|Kingsbury||1952||1631||Rural minor arterial||Sd025 over Ck|
|Beadle||1951||1629||Rural minor arterial||Sd037 over James Rv|
|Brown||1930||1400||Rural major collector||134th Street over Creek|
|Brookings||1925||1305||Rural major collector||471St Avenue over Ck|
Well, at least if we do I-35 into Moccasin Creek, it’s not a long drop. We can all wade out.
Related: I hit Publish, open my morning paper, and learn that the ninth-most-traveled bridge on that list, over Moccasin Creek at 3rd Avenue Southeast here in Aberdeen, finally starts getting its upgrade today. 3rd Avenue, a major alternative artery for people trying to avoid mayhem on 6th Avenue, will be closed from Primrose to 550 feet east of Wilson all summer. The state says the bridge will be done by October, with overall completion scheduled for November 16. Doing the work is Prahm Construction, Inc., from Slayton, Minnesota… where they apparently get more practice fixing structurally deficient bridges.