State commission approves first round of bridge grants
PIERRE--Minnehaha County didn't want to conform to the guidance set by the state Department of Transportation for South Dakota's new program of bridge improvement grants.
PIERRE-Minnehaha County didn't want to conform to the guidance set by the state Department of Transportation for South Dakota's new program of bridge improvement grants.
So, Moody County got money instead.
The state Transportation Commission approved more than $8 million of grants for bridge preservation and bridge replacement Thursday.
The grants are the first made from a new program established in 2015 by the Legislature and additionally funded by the commission.
DOT staff set a 100-point scoring system to rank projects. There were 20 applications from cities and counties for the improvement grants and 11 applications for replacement grants.
Fourteen projects won approval Thursday for improvement grants. They included two for Beadle County, one for Brookings County, two for Davison County, one for Fall River County, one for Hughes County, three for Meade County, three for Rapid City and one for Tripp County.
The commission selected five projects for replacement grants. Those winners were Aberdeen, Marshall County, Roberts County, Yankton and Moody County.
The grants cover 80 percent of the projects in all but one instance.
That exception is Moody County, which will get $1,258,495 and will have to put up $334,623.75 as its match, plus another $525,081.25 of local effort.
The Moody County amount was based on the remainder after the other grants were funded.
Originally, Minnehaha County was in line for that money. Minnehaha received 62.49 points on DOT's scoring scale. Moody received 62.46.
But Minnehaha County already opened a bid for the project. DOT guidance said all bids needed to go through DOT.
In an attempt at compromise, DOT offered to recommend the Minnehaha County bid but the project would need to wait until 2017 and use DOT's bid process.
Minnehaha County was willing to accept the smaller award-its project, replacing the Split Rock Creek bridge north of Brandon, would cost an estimated $2.5 million-but wanted to proceed this year.
The state commissioners debated for more than an hour how to handle the situation. Ultimately, they turned down Minnehaha County and chose Moody County.
Details on local projects
*Davison County-Two improvement projects: $634,000 of improvements on 410 Avenue over Firesteel Creek, state grant of $507,200; $739,000 of improvements on 250 Street over James River, state grant of $591,200.
*Tripp County-Improvements of $282,000 on 289 Street northwest of Clearfield over Willow Creek, state grant of $225,600.