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More than 50 bridges due for inspection in Pennington County

 Car drives across bridge in Rapid City.
Car drives across bridge in Rapid City. (KOTA)
Published: Mar. 3, 2020 at 10:00 PM CST
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An engineering firm out of Rapid City was hired to continue the bridge inspections after being approved by the Pennington County Commission March 3.

KLJ was contracted last year as well, and it is federally mandated that bridges are inspected every two years.

However, some deteriorating bridges are inspected more often including the Rockerville bridge.

The wooden Rockerville bridge is starting to fail and already has load restrictions on it.

It is inspected every year to make sure it doesn't need to be closed, and it's on the agenda to be reconstructed by next spring.

The superintendent for the Pennington County Highway Department said funding is an issue and they are doing their best to keep up with all the bridges.

"I'll just use the Rockerville bridge for instance, if that bridge were to close, instead of coming down through Hill City, they would have to go all the way down to 385 by Sugarshack there, and come out it'd be probably a 50 or 60 mile detour for our folks somewhere in the Black Hills if some of those bridges are closed, so it's a very significant impact to our society and to our public here in Pennington County," said Joe Miller, superintendent for the Pennington County Highway Department.

Miller said they prioritize bridges on roads that have one way in and one way out.

"I just want to stress the importance of taking care of our roadways and the need for it, everybody drives on our roads and our bridges every day whether you realize it or not, you probably cross a minimum of two or three bridges whether it be in the city of the county," Miller said.

Miller said their next steps are to get the engineer on board and make sure the bridges are still in working condition.

The highway department recommended the commission hire KLJ out of Rapid City again based on their work in 2019.