Mitchell to receive $320K Bridge Improvement Grant from state

Mitchell was awarded two Bridge improvement Grant (BIG) from the South Dakota Transportation Commission for improvement efforts on the North Harmon Street bridge.

South Dakota Bridge Improvement Grant sign
In this 2018 photo, a vehicle travels westbound along the 250th Street bridge across the James River in northern Davison County. The 323-foot bridge was renovated with funds from the state's Bridge Improvement Grant program.
Mitchell Republic file photo

MITCHELL — Mitchell was awarded two Bridge improvement Grant (BIG) from the South Dakota Transportation Commission. The total received by the city, just over $320,000, split between two awards, both directed toward the improvement of the bridge on Harmon Street on the northwest side of Lake Mitchell. The first is a preservation oriented award totaling $250,000, while the second is a $69,000 grant to be directed toward Preliminary Engineering of improvements.

These will be the third and fourth grants Mitchell has received since the BIG program's inception in 2015. The grants were announced on Thursday, March 30.

Both grants are part of an aggregate annual award of $41.4 million funded by the South Dakota Department of Transportation (DOT), and are to be dispersed shortly. That sum will be distributed among 40 recipients — 10 cities and 30 counties — with the following being a list of the cities and counties that are part of this year’s award (those with only Preliminary Engineering grants are left unbolded).

CITIES: Aberdeen (1), Belle Fourche(1), Box Elder (1), Bristol (1), Brookings (1), Hot Springs (1), Mitchell (2), Rapid City(1), Sioux Falls (2), Sturgis (1); COUNTIES: Aurora (2), Beadle (3), Brookings (5), Butte (3), Clay (2), Custer (1), Davison (1), Day (2), Deul (1), Grant (4), Haakon (1), Hand (1), Hanson (3), Hughes (3), Lake (2), Lawrence (1), Lincoln (4), Lyman (2), McCook (1), Meade (4), Miner (1), Minnehaha (3), Pennington (2), Roberts (1), Sanborn (2), Sully (3), Tripp (2), Turner (2), Union (1), Yankton (1).

The money, as covered last year , comes from the DOT's Bridge Improvement Grant (BIG) program, this year totaling an all-time high of $41.4 million. Created through State Senate bill SB1 in 2015, the BIG program was sponsored by then state senator Mike Vehle, in an effort to keep South Dakota bridges open and safe. Since then the program has awarded $142 million in grants to local governments, including this year. Funding for the program is drawn from a combination of sources that include license plate and non-commercial vehicle fees, an annual $8 million DOT state highway allocation, and increases in funding this year.


To be eligible to apply for a grant, cities and counties have to pass certain requirements. While cities have to own and operate bridges, counties must impose a wheel tax, and must have a County and Highway Bridge Improvement Plan, that details proposed highway and bridge improvements over the next five years. Local governments are also required to pay a minimum 20 percent matching fund and have three years to use the grant money.

Next year’s preservation and reconstruction class grants will open this fall, and will be announced next spring.

For more information and a copy of the application form, call 605-773-2995, or visit .

Kai Englisch joined The Mitchell Republic in 2023, where he currently works as a general assignment reporter covering the greater Mitchell area. Englisch graduated from St. John's College in 2022, receiving a B.A. in Liberal Arts. He speaks German and conversational Spanish.
What To Read Next
Get Local