City Administrator Justin Weiland told the Dell Rapids City Council that the scheduled Highway 115 projects by the South Dakota Department of Transportation for 2017 and 2018 could be swapping dates. That announcement came during Weiland’s Administrative report at the council’s regular meeting on Monday, October 17th.
Weiland told the council that he met with the DOT on Friday, October 14th, and said, “Because this bridge is so far behind schedule, the DOT is pretty much set in stone at this point, unless we raise a bunch of red flags, of flip-flopping the sequencing of the Highway 115 project.”
The original plan by the SD DOT was to replace the south bridge on Highway 115 and the highway south in 2016, replace the north bridge and the road northward to the four-way stop plus the highway west from the four-way stop to the interstate in 2017, and then replace the Interstate 29 interchange in 2018.
“One of the things that I pointed out here is we’re planning the utility project for 2017. We have it budgeted. We’re borrowing that money from the DENR. We can’t close on that loan until the project is done, so that will push that loan until 2018, so we’ll be paying interest on that loan until 2018, just the water portion,” Weiland said. He also mentioned that there might be something that can be worked out with DENR or the DOT and more information will be requested on that.
Council members raised other concerns as well.
Councilman Gary Haak asked, “My question is, we would have more wear and tear on Garfield, are they going to help keep that up?”
Councilman Mark Crisp added, “So you start adding it up, $25,000 in interest and wear and tear on Garfield.”
Weiland also told the council, “We got them to phase it (the project) so that the Fourth Street intersection south, before they started the interchange, all of that would totally be open before they can shut down the interstate. Well, there might be about two or three months, if they’re not done with the bridge south, that they’re going to start the interchange. My whole deal (to the DOT) was we can’t pinch this whole town through Garfield. If you can’t get down on the interstate, and you can’t get down on Fourth Street south, the whole town is going to have to go down to Garfield. There’s a possibility there might be two or three months that might happen this spring until the bridge is open. Now, there might not. The bridge might be done and open. But they are still running into problems on the bridge.”
Haak also said, “It will be interesting if that doesn’t open and have a lot of snow, and we have a lot of traffic on Garfield, how that’s going to hold up. And the spring if it’s soft, and if we have flooding.”
Weiland said he would bring these concerns to the DOT. Weiland mentioned that a potential idea would be to put into the contract that the DOT can’t start on the interchange until the traffic is open on the bridge.