Pigtail bridges create a unique, treasured drive in the Hills

2011-09-03T06:15:00Z Pigtail bridges create a unique, treasured drive in the HillsJournal staff Rapid City Journal
September 03, 2011 6:15 am  • 

In 1939, Cecil Clyde Gideon gained accreditation for designing the first set of pigtail bridges in the world. Gideon was a self-taught man who trained himself in the skill sets that made him a master builder, architect, craftsman, lawman and highway designer.

Gideon's pigtail bridge design, or "spiral jumpoffs," as he called them, came to life during construction of the scenic Iron Mountain Road. The pigtail bridge design provided a balance between a safe navigable highway, preservation of the pristine Black Hills and a highway that could traverse the sudden elevation drops of the Hills. In order to maintain the aura of the Black Hills, natural materials such as local timber were used for construction.

The hairpin turns, smooth road and effortless grade change in elevation provided by the pigtail bridges, all the while being surrounded by the beauty of the Black Hills, create one of the most unique and treasured drives in the nation. 

Because of the expense involved with construction, pigtail bridge designs are a rarity, and the best place to experience them is on U.S. Highway 16A heading south from Mount Rushmore National Memorial. A historical marker acknowledging Gideon's accomplishments may be viewed south of Keystone along Highway 16A.

Source: South Dakota Office of Tourism

Copyright 2015 Rapid City Journal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

No Comments Posted.

Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick

Interstate 90 wreck
Interstate 90 wreck
Emergency personnel respond to the scene of a wreck Monday morning on Interstate 90.
Bridal Veil Falls in Spearfish Canyon
Bridal Veil Falls in Spearfish Canyon
Heavy rains have increased the amount of water flowing over Bridal Veil Falls in Spearfish Canyon. Parts of the northern Black Hills have seen as many as five inches of rain in the past few days.
Landfill fire
Landfill fire
View footage from a fire at the Rapid City Landfill on Thursday, May 16.
Francis Case kids perform "Thank you, soldiers"
Francis Case kids perform "Thank you, soldiers"
View video of Francis Case Elementary students performing "Thank you, Soldiers" by Michael and Angela Souders.
Mayoral debate: Question 4
Mayoral debate: Question 4
View footage of the mayoral candidates answering the following question, "Are Rapid City residents getting the services they need for the taxes and fees that they pay?"
Mayoral debate: Question 3
Mayoral debate: Question 3
View footage of the mayoral candidates answering the following question, "How do you see the climate for race relations in Rapid City? If you believe there is a problem, what will you do to smooth racial tension?"
Mayoral debate: Question 2
Mayoral debate: Question 2
View footage of the mayoral candidates answering the following question, "What are your most important accomplishments as a public servant? What is one thing you regret?"
Mayoral debate: Question 2
Mayoral debate: Question 2
View footage of the mayoral candidates answering the following question, "What are your most important accomplishments as a public servant? What is one thing you regret?"
Mayoral candidate opening statements
Mayoral candidate opening statements
View opening statements from the mayoral candidates at the Journal's debate.
Mayoral debate: Question 1
Mayoral debate: Question 1
View footage of the mayoral candidates answering the following question, "What do you see as your priorities for Rapid City as mayor?"

Poll

The Rapid City mayoral election is about a month away. Who are you leaning toward voting for at this point in the race?

Loading…
Sam Kooiker (incumbent)
Steve Allender

Home contractors, pizza, beauty salons

City & State, or Zip Code