Johnson will speak at groundbreaking event

Johnson will speak at groundbreaking event Sen. Tim Johnson will speak at the Newcastle/Vermillion Bridge groundbreaking ceremony on Saturday, July 22 at 11 a.m. at the Vermillion National Guard Armory.

The new bridge will connect South Dakota and Nebraska in the vicinity of Vermillion and Newcastle, NE. Johnson said the bridge will help to spur economic development and commerce in the region.

"There have been plans to build a Missouri River bridge near Vermillion for nearly a century," Johnson said. "Through tenacious persistence, the citizens of Vermillion and Newcastle have succeeded. I believe this bridge will help to create new jobs in South Dakota and Nebraska, and increase the amount of interstate commerce for the area."

Johnson said the construction of the bridge will play a critical role in facilitating regional economic development and will greatly enhance the educational, recreational and cultural opportunities for the several thousand residents of the area. The bridge will also benefit the region by providing a critical link to I-29, a major north-south corridor.

The bridge over the Missouri River will also be an efficient transportation link between two outstanding institutions of higher education � Wayne State College in Wayne, NE, and The University of South Dakota in Vermillion. Further, this project will greatly increase access to medical services provided by Sioux Valley Vermillion Campus. This is a particularly important service as currently two counties in this area of Nebraska � Dixon and Cedar counties � are designated as "medically underserved counties." The bridge would decrease travel time for emergency services for residents of Dixon County by 60 percent.

To mark the beginning of construction, the groundbreaking ceremony will start at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday. Festivities will open with a ceremonial turning of the dirt at the beginning of the new road leading to the bridge at the junction of Highway 50 and Timber Road on the west edge of Vermillion near Holmes's Welding. The 185th Fighter Squadron of the Air National Guard in Sioux City, IA, will also fly over the site.

From there, the ceremony will move to the National Guard Armory, 603 Princeton Street in Vermillion, at 11 a.m. for comments by Senator Johnson and U.S. Congressman Doug Bereuter of Nebraska, along with other dignitaries. A complimentary lunch, provided by the Newcastle/Vermillion Bridge Committee and prepared by Texas Bar-B-Que will be served at noon.

Free buttons to commemorate the ceremony will be given to all in attendance. Cast medallions will also be for sale.

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