The South Dakota Transportation Commission recently issued 33 preliminary engineering Bridge Improvement Grants or “BIG” awards totaling approximately $1.42 million at its August 26 meeting.
[Above photo by the South Dakota DOT]
The agency said in a statement that local governments are required to pay a minimum of 20 percent matching funds and have three years to expend BIG funds. Counties must have a wheel tax and a five-year Highway and Bridge Improvement Plan to receive a grant, the commission added.
South Dakota’s BIG program – created in 2015 – sets aside $7 million per year from funds generated by license plate fees for the repair and replacement of aging local bridges. The South Dakota Department of Transportation chips in an additional $8 million annually, making $15 million available.
In September 2020, the commission approved a $49.99 million plan to replace the Pierre-Fort Pierre Missouri River Bridge – an effort that’s been in the works for two decades – to improve freight shipment efficiency and improve overall travel safety.