A couple of area counties will be awarded preliminary engineering Bridge Improvement Grants from the state Department of Transportation.  

The South Dakota Transportation Commission awarded 40 of the grants totaling close to one-and-a-half-million dollars during its meeting Thursday in Pierre.

Lake and Miner counties are two of the forty grant recipients for the preliminary engineering of bridge improvement projects.     

Local governments are required to pay a minimum of 20 percent matching funds and have three years to expend the grant. Counties must have a wheel tax and a five-year Highway and Bridge Improvement Plan in order to receive a grant.

The Bridge Improvement Grant program was created in 2015 by Senate Bill One.  The bill set aside seven million dollars per year from funds generated by license plate fees to be used to repair and replace aging local bridges.  The state DOT adds an additional eight-million dollars annually, making 15-million dollars available.