KMEG 14 - News, Weather, Sports for Sioux City and Siouxland | Meridian Bridge Getting a Makeover

Meridian Bridge Getting a Makeover

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(YANKTON, SD) Its a staple of one Siouxland communitys skyline, and its history isnt ending anytime soon.

The Meridian Bridge in Yankton, South Dakota, has a long past of a community coming together, and $4 mill. of federal stimulus money are helping ensure it has a long future.

The Meridian Bridge spans the Missouri at Yankton, and even though its currently closed, its 90-year history isnt ending.

"The community and the citizens of the community that decided this is a necessity for us, we need to make this work," says Crystal Nelson, Director and Curator of the Dakota Territorial Museum in Yankton.

Dreams of connecting with growing business in Nebraska prompted Yankton citizens to raise $1 mill. for a bridge, the Meridian opened in 1924.

But while economics gave the bridge birth, they were also its downfall.

"More availability for larger trucks, wider trucks, because they had to go so far out of their way to try to pass the Missouri River, they really couldnt do it on the Meridian Bridge," says Nelson.

The Meridian closed in 2008, replaced by the Discovery Bridge; But its a story that isnt ending.

Crews resumed reconstruction in late March.

"(Work on the bridge is) not a typical repair, or construction work. Theres a lot of unforseens that we identify as we try to complete the work," says Kevin Heiman, a Project Engineer with the South Dakota Department of Transportation.

The bridge is being converted into a pedestrian walkway, workers are repairing support plates along the bottom of the structure.

When construction is complete, visitors will see new handrails and even historic lighting.

Its all part of an effort to make sure a Siouxland symbol lives on.

"It helps remind us how big of things a community can do when they work together," says Nelson.

Crews hope to have the bridge finished by the Yankton Riverboat Days, this August.

This story was reported by Jacob Heller. You can contact him at: jheller@kmeg.com

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