DOT requests changes to crossing plans
by Katie Zerr
State mandated changes to the railroad crossing project pushed the Mobridge City Council, on Monday, March 5, to hire Goldsmith and Heck Engineers to change the plans.
The South Dakota Department of Transportation has decided a municipality the size of Mobridge does not need the additional round about concrete island at the south end of Main Street. The design of the project will now have to be altered to reflect the new mandates from the DOT.
“It will save us quite a bit of money, but I have always said this is a safety issue,” Mobridge City Administrator Steve Gasser said in a telephone interview. “Having the U-turn at the end of Main Street has always been a safety issue in this design.”
The changes will also include some modification of the storm sewer and drainage features, according to a letter submitted to the council by Engineer Todd Goldsmith.
On Monday, Goldsmith told the group the crossing plans were complete except for the bidding contract. With the state’s requests, those plans will be changed and the DOT may have a say in the redesign.
There has been a commitment to the community to have the U-turn option on south Main Street and Gasser said that is still the plan.
He said the concern is that if there is noway for the U-turns at the end of Main Street, kids may cross the tracks, pull into the parking lot along Eklo Road and turn around to come back to Main Street.
“We will be redoing the plans, taking the roundabout out,” he said. “That changes quite a bit on the plan, but I don’t think that should set us back on time.”
He said there will still be an island at the end of Main Street to direct traffic across the railroad crossing, but the concrete barriers on Railroad Street and First Street East will be gone from the plan.
“It was never about the semis not having room to make the turns onto Railroad Street,” said Gasser. “The roundabout was designed to make sure the trucks would be able to turn going either north or south.”
The council approved the firm making the revisions to the project with Goldsmith making those revisions at his normal hourly rate, not to exceed $10,000.
Mobridge Police Chief Mike Nehls reported he was working with Mobridge City Attorney Rick Cain, and Councilmen Tony Yellow Boy and Gene Cox on the fees paid by counties on the system. He said the South Dakota Legislature has passed a law increasing the per line fee for 911 from 75 cents per line to $1.25. He said any decision on pressing other counties to pay fees is on hold until the funding from the increase comes through.
– Katie Zerr –