Working Through Winter - How a SDDOT Project Continues to Move Forward Despite Harsh Conditions

Working Through Winter - How a SDDOT Project Continues to Move Forward Despite Harsh Conditions

Even in the brutal cold of the winter months, the SDDOT still makes significant progress on important construction projects. One of these projects during the winter of 2023 is the Day County Highway 446A bridge replacement over Blue Dog Lake, located northeast of Waubay.

Work on this project is progressing, despite the bitter, unrelentless winter we are experiencing. This location has been plagued with flooding issues for the last four years. The county received a Bridge Improvement Grant (BIG) in 2019 to assist in the completion of this project. After much planning, Sioux Falls Construction (SFC) was hired last fall to replace the existing 74-foot steel stringer single span bridge that was built in 1952 with a new four cell cast in place reinforced concrete box culvert.

The new culvert will allow the county to adjust the road grade should lake levels rise in the future. The contractor has completed installation of sheet piling which creates a cofferdam around the existing bridge as well as the removal of the existing bridge. The installation of the cofferdam allows the construction site to be protected from the surrounding water and with continuous operation of transfer pumps, this allows workers to excavate and prepare the road/lakebed to have the new culvert floor formed and concrete poured under dry conditions.

While this method of construction is preferred, not all locations allow such control of the water, so the Day County site is fortunate in this regard. Additionally, with a confined work environment, it does allow the contractor to cover and protect their work when needed regardless of what temperatures and weather comes their way. Therefore, they are able to work throughout the winter.

This project is scheduled to have the new structure built and backfilled over the next several months.  The project should be completed and opened to traffic by summer 2023.

To view additional drone footage from the project, please visit: