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Concrete block matting, which are concrete blocks cabled to the shore to protect it, was installed in place of the aging gabions, wire baskets filled with rocks used to protect shoreline, on the Lake Mitchell shoreline north of the spillway. (Sean Ryan/The Daily Republic)

West End Bridge project pushed back

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West End Bridge project pushed back
Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

Work to demolish and replace an aging bridge on the far west side of Lake Mitchell could begin this fall, according to Mitchell's Deputy Public Works Director Terry Johnson.

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The West End Bridge, built in 1939, crosses a narrow stretch of water where Firesteel Creek empties into the west side of Lake Mitchell.

The project was initially expected to get underway this summer, but Johnson said changes to the plan, including changes to the pedestrian and vehicle railing, pushed back the bid date.

"It's a great feeling because it's a project we've been wanting to do for the last five years," he said.

Bids for the work to replace the bridge were recently opened and the lowest bid came in at about $1.3 million, slightly below the estimated cost of about $1.42 million for the project, Johnson said.

The city will pay for 20 percent of the total cost to replace the bridge, according to Johnson. The remainder will be paid with federal funds allocated for bridge repair.

The South Dakota Department of Transportation plans to review the bids for the project later this week, Johnson said.

There's no official start date yet, but Johnson said he expects the project will begin sometime in November or December. If that happens, the bridge will be totally closed to traffic until the project is finished, which will likely be sometime next summer, Johnson said.

Anyone living north of the bridge on the north side of Lake Mitchell will be rerouted during construction to North Harmon Drive or National Guard Road to state Highway 37 as a way of getting to and from other areas of the city.

The new bridge, at 126 feet, will be slightly longer than the current bridge, at 122 feet, but both will be the same height, Johnson said.

Work on east side of lake nearly complete

Another project at Lake Mitchell meant to protect part of the eastern shore from erosion is nearly complete, Johnson said.

Work to replace rundown gabions -- wire baskets filled with rocks used to protect shoreline -- on the Lake Mitchell shoreline north of the spillway has been ongoing for about a week and most of the major work is now finished, Johnson said.

Concrete block matting, which are concrete blocks cabled to the shore to protect it, was installed in place of the aging gabions, some of which were falling into the lake.

The first phase of the project covers approximately 275 feet of shoreline north of the spillway, though work could eventually extend all the way to Kibbee Park.

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