Historic bridge designated to honor American Legion

By Bob Mercer

State Capitol Bureau

PIERRE – There’s no rule or policy prohibiting it, so the state Transportation Commission agreed Thursday to naming a second segment of highway in honor of the South Dakota American Legion.

This time it’s the restored two-lane bridge that connects Chamberlain and Oacoma. American Legion Potter Post 3 at Chamberlain made the request.

The structure over the Missouri River has been called the I-90 loop bridge. Now it is the American Legion Memorial Bridge.

“That is a historic bridge. Since it’s been refurbished and looks so nice now, we thought it would be a great time to name it, to rename it,” said Doug Feltman of Chamberlain, representing the post.

State policy prohibits naming a segment of highway in honor of more than one party. But there’s nothing that addresses a situation where a party wants multiple segments of highway to receive the same designation, according to Scott Rabern, a state Department of Transportation official.

He said U.S. 281 through South Dakota from the Nebraska border to the North Dakota is designated as the American Legion Highway.

Other states handle highway naming in multiple ways, according to Rabern.

Commissioner Mike Trucano of Deadwood asked whether there should be a clarification in DOT regulations for similar situations in the future.

Transportation Secretary Darin Bergquist said that won’t be necessary. He said DOT has a naming policy that isn’t set in formal rule.

“You don’t really have any rules that govern this,” Bergquist said.

The old bridge follows the traditional route of U.S. 16, which was replaced by Interstate 90. There is a modern four-lane bridge on I-90 just downstream from the old bridge.

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