Discussions continue on 6th Street Bridge in Sioux Falls

Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 9:39 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Last Tuesday night, city council voted to move forward on the 6th Street Bridge project in downtown Sioux Falls.

Tuesday night, they held a special meeting to discuss the project further.

With the bid almost doubling from the original cost, some Sioux Falls residents voiced their concerns over how fast the project was moved forward.

“This is almost $22 million — other projects with price tags like this, there’s public forums, it’s talked about, multiple meetings, etc. This just feels like it’s being ramrodded,” said Lanny Auringer, Sioux Falls resident.

Along with some public concerns, some city councilors voiced their regret over their vote last Tuesday, including councilor Sarah Cole and Rich Merkouris.

Counselor David Barranco said moving forward, it will be important to monitor costs.

“We should keep in mind how important that bridge contract is to so many of our citizens and the large amount of money. We must be conscious of our duty, and diligent in our duty, to find any possible way within the constrains of safety and security to get that budget done under cost,” said Barranco.

Council member Greg Neizert voted against the bid last Tuesday, saying it was brought forward with too little time to vote.

However, with the bid finalized now, he says the next step is reprising dollars for the bridge.

“Minnesota Ave., which we were going to do, we can’t do this year because we didn’t get a pipe that we needed, so that will be delayed a year. So we can use $7 million from that, plus $3 million from savings from a supplemental that will probably be approved today, and then savings from other projects to make that $21 million gap up,” said Neizert.

Public Works Director Mark Cotter says the increase in cost could be contributed to the market.

“The cost certainly has gone up, and one of the things we’ve seen over time in the most recent years is there has been a lot more bridge funding coming into the market, which means there’s a lot more agencies doing bridge work,” said Cotter.

He encourages the public to take part in discussions moving forward with the project.

“There’s a number of people that use 6th St. on a daily basis for their daily commutes. We’ll want them to be plugged in and know about it. If they are interested, if they live and work in the downtown area and want to know more about it, come to the public meetings,” said Cotter.

City officials say the community could start seeing changes to the 6th Street Bridge area as early as next month.