The transformation begins

May 3, 2019

SPEARFISH — Orange traffic cones will be a staple on Jackson Boulevard for the foreseeable future, and with a month of work under their belts, crews are ticking off items on the list to rebuild the major corridor through Spearfish.

“It is going well. The project is currently on schedule,” City Project Engineer Adam McMahon said. He explained that since the project began on April 1, the contractor has installed the storm sewer outlet structure and the irrigation line lowering in front of Pioneer Bank, replaced and lowered a sewer line across Jackson Boulevard just east of Spearfish Creek, and installed the new 60-inch reinforced concrete pipe storm sewer trunkline across Jackson Boulevard with a 90-degree radius turn to continue east on Jackson Boulevard.

McMahon said that the traffic configurations related to the project have been working well.

“Motorists seem to navigating around the closure well,” he said. “We ask that motorists reduce speeds and be on the lookout for pedestrians on the detour routes, especially at the bike path crossings.”

Crews haven’t encountered anything out of the ordinary since the start of the project, McMahon said, and while snow the second week of April and this week temporarily slowed production down on the project, the contractor is still on schedule.

McMahon added that the road closure at the bridge over Spearfish Creek was scheduled to be open at the end of this week but may be delayed until the first part of next week now due to the snow.

“When the contractor opens Third Street to Meier Avenue to traffic, the contractor will set up one-lane, two-way traffic in the westbound lanes from Spearfish Creek to Fifth Street for phase 1.4,” he said. “This should happen the end of this week or more likely the first part of next week with the current weather this week.”

As far as the most important thing those traveling through the construction zone should know about the project, McMahon asked motorists to help ensure everyone makes it home to their family safely.

“Plan additional time to your commute when traveling in the vicinity of the project, slow down, be on the lookout for flaggers, construction workers, and equipment adjacent to the roadway, construction equipment entering and exiting the work zone, as well as suddenly slowing, merging, and stopped traffic,” he said. “The safety of workers, pedestrians, and motorists on the project is our first priority.”

For those unfamiliar with the project area, especially as tourist season begins, McMahon encouraged visitors to the area to follow signage, plan their route ahead of time, check the city website, newspaper, and other media outlets for updates on traffic control, and consider alternate routes if uncomfortable driving an RV through the project.

He said that safety concerns and traffic congestion concerns with the detour route are the topics of the majority of questions crews are hearing about the project.

“We modified the detour so that westbound traffic is directed to the Nash Street bridge, and eastbound traffic stayed on the original designated detour route on the Grant Street bridge to split the traffic volume on the two routes,” McMahon said. “We also set up pedestrian crossing signs where the bike path crosses Grant Street and Nash Street.”

The first phase of the Jackson Boulevard Street, Storm, and Utility Improvements Project includes the area from about Third to 10th streets.

The Spearfish City Council in February awarded the lowest responsive and responsible bid for the phase 1 construction to RCS Construction, Inc., of Rapid City, for $3,894,989.13.

Elements included in phase 1 include the installation of water and sanitary sewer main replacement; new storm sewer trunkline from Spearfish Creek to Eighth Street; conversion of the current four-lane roadway to a five-lane roadway with raised medians and center turn lanes; bike lanes from Third to Fifth streets; a raised median on Main Street from Jackson Boulevard to Kansas Street; landscaping and new street lighting; and a new traffic signal at Canyon Street.

The substantial completion date for the phase 1 is Nov. 8 and includes all underground items, excluding median irrigation, street surfacing, curb, gutter, and sidewalk, electrical and lighting items, excluding medians, and pavements markings. The overall completion date is June 1, 2020, to include the medians, boulevard landscaping, any permanent pavement marking, and other miscellaneous items not in the roadway that do not affect traffic.

Phase 2 of the Jackson Boulevard project, currently under design, runs from University to Third streets and 10th Street to Interstate 90 and includes underground utility improvements, converting the current four-lane roadway to a three-lane roadway with raised medians and center turn lanes, a roundabout at the Ames Street intersection, protected bike lanes, landscaping, and lighting, the project description states. Phase 2 is scheduled for construction in 2020.

The total 2019 approved budget for construction for the first phase of the Jackson Boulevard project is $4 million, with an additional $180,000 budgeted this year for the engineering and design budget for phase 2 of the project.

According to the city finance office, $7.86 million is budgeted for the total project over two years. Of the $4.18 million budgeted in 2019, $3.02 million comes from the second penny fund; $370,000 from the water fund; $275,000 from the hydro fund; and $515,000 from the sewer fund.

In 2020, $3.68 million is budgeted — though that budget would not be formally approved by the city council until the fall. Within that budgeted, $2.8 million is currently shown coming from second penny; $255,000 from water; $200,000 from hydro; and $425,000 from sewer.

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