SPEARFISH — Interstate 90’s Exit 14 was the site of a ribbon-cutting ceremony in mid-July.
“This new interchange at Exit 14 in Spearfish, in the heart of the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota, is one of those that seemed like it was long overdue, but we can all agree it was well worth the wait,” said Darin Berquist, secretary of the South Dakota Department of Transportation.
The former diamond-style interchange that made up Exit 14 was first built in the early 1970s, when the only business in the area was the Holiday Inn, and the reconstruction of the interchange included a complete replacement of the bridge, the realignment of the entrance and exit ramps, the realignment of 27th Street and Colorado Boulevard, new roadway lighting, and new traffic signal systems on the bridge and at the intersections at First Avenue and Colorado Boulevard.
Construction of the project began on March 14, 2016, with the final contract completion date of June 1, 2018. The $27.5 million project was awarded to prime contractor Heavy Constructors Inc., of Rapid City.
Bergquist, Spearfish City Council President Dan Hodgs, Tammy Williams, DOT Belle Fourche area engineer, and David Gustafson, president of Heavy Constructors, Inc., spoke during the ceremony on the west side of the bridge, and all spoke of teamwork it took to complete the massive undertaking — which created the widest bridge in the state, at 264 feet.
“As Spearfish continues to grow, this new interchange will accommodate our needs and allow for economic expansion well into the future,” Hodgs said, reading a statement for Mayor Dana Boke, who was unable to attend the ceremony.
Gustafson described his pride at helping to create a “great gateway bridge for the city of Spearfish,” and congratulated the city and everyone involved with the project.
“It’s amazing how much Spearfish has grown since then,” Williams said, referencing the time when the original Exit 14 was built in the 1970s. She described that the new bridge is one of the first to have stainless steel used in its bridge deck, with an expected lifespan of 75-100 years.
“Today is about the future and how this exit will serve the continued growth of Spearfish,” Williams added.
Written by Kaija Swisher and reprinted by permission of the Black Hills Pioneer