South Dakota Department of Transportation—Whitewood Valley Road Bridge Improvement Grant (BIG) Project

In 2020, the existing 186-foot five-span continuous concrete bridge on Whitewood Valley Road over Whitewood Creek was in need of replacement. The existing structure was at the end of its service life and replacement was determined to be the only viable option. Thankfully, the South Dakota Legislature created the Bridge Improvement Grant or “BIG” fund that provides $7 million for local government bridges derived from an increase in license plate fees. In addition, the South Dakota Department of Transportation adds in $8 million worth of state funds, making a total of $15 million annually available to the bridge grant program annually. Every year, counties and cities from across the state apply for preservation and replacement grants to enhance and ensure farm to market connectivity. That allowed the South Dakota DOT to construct a new $1.6 million three-span bridge that allows the county to haul gravel out of the gravel pit north of the bridge and local ranchers to move more hay and livestock – all while preserving the pristine trout fishing streams below.