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Grand Crossing project begins Monday

Area residents can expect a summer of change and a bit of inconvenience as the South Dakota Department of Transportation renovation of Grand Crossing and S.D. Highway 1804 takes over the thoroughfare.

In the coming weeks, Grand Crossing will undergo changes that will include new curbs, gutters, sidewalk, lights and road surface. At a meeting held Tuesday, May 14, in the community room at the A. H. Brown Library, representatives from the DOT met with contractors and representatives of companies involved in the project.

It will be done in stages starting with the south side of the road, from the east edge of town to Main Street in the first stage. Completion is scheduled by June 10 (approximately three weeks) and the project will flip to the north side of the street, beginning at Main Street and moving east.

The work was slated to begin several years ago but was delayed by budget constraints until this summer. Signs will go up this week and MDU will start to remove lights and poles as soon as possible.

Work will begin with removal of existing curb, gutter and sidewalks then continue with grading and shaping for the concrete work immediately following the removal work. New pipes, conduit and light footings will then be installed followed by the new concrete work. Traffic will be down to one lane of eastbound and two lanes of westbound traffic during this stage of the project.

Todd Goldsmith of Goldsmith and Heck Engineering of Mobridge explained the progression of the project and the reasons for the planned progression of the project.

Steve Haas of MDU requested the DOT consider changing the progression by starting on the north side of the road. He said the majority of light poles are on the south side and once they are removed, there will be little light on the road until near the end of the project in August. He stated it was a safety issue for the community if there were no lights on Grand Crossing for that long.

Goldsmith explained one of the reasons that the project would start on the east is that there is less foot traffic that end of town and there will be less disruption time for businesses along Grand Crossing. He said there would be a time when there will be no lights along the road until the new lights are installed. According to the DOT project schedule (see accompanying story) the lights will be installed from Sept. 9 through Oct. 21.

Starting the week of June 10, lane closure will be switched to the north side as the removal work and grinding will move to that side. This work is scheduled to be done with this section before the July 4 week. Traffic closures will be pulled during the week of the celebration.

Work on S.D. Highway 1804 will be done during that time.

Starting the week of July 8 work will begin on the west end of Grand Crossing on the north side and proceed east to the Main Street intersection. Traffic will be down to one eastbound lane and one west lane. This phase of the project is expected to take about four weeks.

The traffic with lane closure will then switched to the south side the week of August 4, and progress back to the west. This is expected to be completed in three weeks.

Work on 1804 will be completed during transition time and at the end of the overall Highway 12 (Grand Crossing) concrete work. However the work in front of Freeman Davis School will be completed prior to the beginning of the school year in the fall.

After the concrete work is complete the salvage asphalt surfacing, milling and the surface preparation work will start during the week of Aug. 19.

With the completion of these phases of the project, the lights will be installed and erosion control will be completed.

During the discussion with contractors, use of the traffic signals on Fourth Avenue East and Main Street was discussed. The decision to either turn the lights off and control traffic by stop signs or use the interval system to control the traffic were considered. The interval system may work on the Fourth Avenue East intersection, but removal of power poles may pose a problem at the Main Street intersection. Since there will only be two lanes of traffic moving during this time, it was determined that the lights cannot be used and traffic will be controlled with stop signs.

Another issue will be width restrictions when the traffic is down to two lanes. John Villbrandt of the Mobridge DOT office said he would research the issue and determine if and when detours will be need and what routes will be used.

Villbrandt also suggested weekly meeting, to keep business owners updated on the project and what to expect during the time when driveways will be torn out and access will be interrupted during the project. Those meetings will be held on Thursday mornings at 8:30 a.m. at city hall.

According to the DOT, the plan for this project will allow the work to proceed efficiently and also accommodate the community’s July 4 activities. It will also minimize the stretch of traffic control and access to businesses issues, allow the city’s Second Avenue project to be completed prior to the DOT work and meet the needs of the Freeman Davis School.

– Katie Zerr –