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Bridge Improvement Grant

Rapid City has received Bridge Improvement Grant funding for the bridge on East Main Street North that connects Saint Joseph Street and North Lacrosse Street in Rapid City.

Rapid City has been awarded a state grant that will fund 80 percent of construction engineering costs for repairs to the East Main Street North bridge.

An agreement authorizing the funding passed out of the City's Public Works Committee on Tuesday. If approved by the city council on Monday, it will head to Mayor Steve Allender for his signature.

This marks the third time that Rapid City applied for and received a grant through South Dakota's Bridge Improvement Grant program, or BIG, according to City Public Works Director Dale Tech. The state Department of Transportation program reimburses qualifying cities and counties for 80 percent of costs for a specific project up to $553,000.

A total of $15 million is set aside each year for the program, money generated by license plate and non-commercial vehicle fees as well as the state gas tax fund. Only counties that impose wheel taxes are eligible for the program, although municipalities in counties without a wheel tax — such as those Pennington County — are still able to apply.

BIG funding is typically reserved for bridges in need of replacement, rehabilitation or preservation, according to the state DOT's website. The bridge on East Main Street North falls into the last category, Tech said. 

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"There are minor things that need to be done just to extend the life of the bridge for another decade or two," Tech said following Tuesday's meeting, adding that it does not pose a safety concern.

The bridge connects St. Joseph Street to Lacrosse Street and includes a portion of the city's bike path. It also connects to the Pennington County Fairgrounds and South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.

City officials said that the design phase of the project is scheduled for next year with construction slated to begin in 2021. Total project costs are estimated at $856,000, according to the state DOT website.

The program previously funded repairs to the bridge on Cherry Avenue on Rapid City's east side, the bridge on 12th Street near the Rapid City Executive Golf Course and the bridge on Cambell Street near the Highway 16 junction in the southeast side of town.

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— Contact Matt Guerry at matthew.guerry@rapidcityjournal.com

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