Sixth Street construction: ‘Aggressive’ timeline scheduled to meet November completion

Jesse Batson

Jesse Batson

Starting April 10, many students and faculty members will face the inconvenience of finding alternative routes leading to campus, as the city will begin its Sixth Street construction project at the Medary Avenue intersection.

The South Dakota Department of Transportation (DOT) plans on completing the project in a very aggressive manner, John Rittershaus, lead project engineer for the DOT, told close to 50 locals last week at the Brookings County Extension Center.

“The project is divided into four phases,” he said.

Phase I – the Medary Avenue intersection – is scheduled to be completed in 21 calendar days. Phase II runs from the Medary Avenue intersection to 14th Street. The two phases will run concurrently with each other.

As each phase is completed, it will re-open no matter what the status is on the other phases of the project.

Aberdeen-based Upper Plains Contracting, Inc. will head the project with aid from a local sub-contractor.

The $5.4 million four-phase project is scheduled for completion Nov. 3. There are penalties for not having the project done on time.

“There is a $1,000 penalty per day for failure to complete on time,” Rittershaus said.

Upper Plains could receive up to a $120,000 incentive for finishing early, but there’s no limit on decentive charges if the project is not completed on time.

“The limits of the project are from the west side of Medary Avenue up to 22nd Street,” Rittershaus said. “We will not be going through that intersection.”

The street will be widened from 48 to 55 feet from Medary Avenue to 17th Avenue. The roadway will be widened to 60 feet beyond 17th Avenue.

“We are planning on maintaining a 5-foot boulevard and a 5-foot sidewalk throughout this project,” Rittershaus said.

Stoplights are scheduled to be added at Eighth and Medary once construction starts. After finals week, the city will remove the stoplights currently at Eighth and 12th.

“There’s also a tied utility project with the city of Brookings and this project will entail installing new water lines and sanitary sewer lines and this is done in conjunction with our project,” Rittershaus said.

Through-traffic will be detoured through the bypass, he said. Local traffic will have other detours.

One renter asked about Sixth Street access to the home he rents out to students during the school year.

For the most part, there will be access, but there may be a few days where Sixth Street dwellers may have to park someplace else and walk to their homes.

Weekly meetings, covering the progress of the project, have been set for Friday mornings at 10 a.m. in the back room at the Pizza Ranch.

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