Completion of Hot Springs Urban Reconstruction project delayed by at least 9 months to Sept. 2024
Photo by Brett Nachtigall/Fall River County Herald-Star
John Van Beek with Avid4 Engineering, left, stands on stage while leading a public presentation about the Hot Springs Urban Reconstruction project at the Mueller Civic Center on March 1. Seated at the table are representatives with Complete Concrete Construction, which is the general contractor on the project.
By Brett Nachtigall
HOT SPRINGS – Given the visible progress made on the Hot Springs Urban Reconstruction project during 2022 construction season, the primary news shared at a public meeting last Wednesday, March 1, at the Mueller Center came as no big surprise to the 60 or so people in attendance.
“The big message we want to send tonight is that the overall completion date of the project has been moved into 2024,” stated John Van Beek with Avid4 Engineering (formerly known as Ferber Engineering). “Originally that was Dec. 15, 2023, date, and after going through the first year of construction ... (there were) something like 75 documented delayed days encountered in calendar year 2022.”
Van Beek then explained that those lost days are “working days” and thus could not simply just be added to the end of the previously projected December end date.
“In addition, there is also about 2,000 feet of underground water main that is going to be replaced that wasn’t bid as part of the original project,” Van Beek said. “With that additional work, the estimated completion date is now September of 2024.”
The overall urban reconstruction project combines a total of seven different individual construction projects into one major rebuild of U.S. Hwy. 385 and U.S. Hwy. 18 through Hot Springs, including the City of Hot Springs’ suspended sidewalk project on North River Street, along with the replacement of many city utilities.
Van Beek stated the project has a bid total of $31 million, but due to delays, additional utility work as part of the project and many other factors, the final price tag will likely be higher. (See related story on page A7)
On hand, and on stage, at the meeting were representatives from the S.D. Department of Transportation including Todd Seaman, Rapid City Region Engineer; Tim Wicks, Engineering Supervisor; and, Matt Rippentrop, On-Site Project Engineer. Complete Construction, Inc., the general contractor for the project, was represented on stage by Dave Buck, Project Manager; Scott Donnelly, Project Superintendent; and, Seth Shull, Assistant Project Superintendent.
During the approximate 45-minute presentation, Van Beek went through and described the various phases of the planned work, which is all available for viewing at www.hotspringsreconstruction.com.
Audience members asked questions and shared concerns during the discussion, which included concerns about how the S.D. DOT handled the lack of lighting along North River Street and Chicago Streets. Business owners in those areas said it created a safety issue for both motorists and pedestrians, especially in the winter months when it got dark earlier in the evening.
Other concerns were brought up about the proper way to park. Due to lack of striping, it was pointed out the motorists are unaware if they should be parking parallel or diagonally, and thus it is determined by whatever vehicle gets there first. A suggestion was made to have DOT install signs in those areas since final striping will not be performed until the work in completely done.
Work completed in 2022 spans from U.S. 18 at the southern city limits to west of the intersection with U.S. 385 (Jensen Highway), including a small portion U.S. 18 to the bridge, as well as U.S. 385 from its southern extent to the intersection with Detroit Street. Work included the full reconstruction of both lanes of traffic, pedestrian routes and subsurface utilities. Also completed in 2022 was the full reconstruction of Jennings Avenue from the intersection of N. River Street to the intersection with N. Chicago Street, and portions of N. Chicago Street as shown
Following is listing of the phased work for 2023:
Phase 1 – Mid-March through April
West half of N. Chicago Street at the intersection with University Avenue, connecting to the portions of N. Chicago Street completed in 2022. Work to include the full reconstruction of southbound lanes while traffic is maintained in the current northbound lanes.
Phase 2 – Late March through early June
East half, or “business side,” of N. River Street, from the intersection with Jennings Avenue to just south of Minnekahta Avenue. Work to include the full reconstruction of northbound lanes while traffic is maintained on current, temporarily widened southbound lanes. Water and sanitary sewer main replacement, followed by foundation work for the suspended sidewalk. While work is being done, “temporary loading areas” for nearby businesses will be established in the parking lot of Centennial Park and also near the alley entrance north of the Boys & Girls Club.
Phase 3 – Late March through early August
West half of S. Chicago Street, from north of the intersection with Baltimore Avenue to south of the intersection with Detroit Street. This will connect to the work that was done last fall from near Glass Pro+ and then south, connecting with the work from last year that ended near Lynn’s Dakotamart. Work to include the full reconstruction of southbound lanes while traffic is maintained in the current northbound lanes.
Phase 4 – Mid-May through mid-June
East half of N. Chicago Street at the intersection with University Avenue. Work to include the full reconstruction of northbound lanes while traffic is maintained in the new southbound lanes. Once this phase is completed, the four-way traffic light will be returned to the intersection.
Phase 5 – Now through December
West half, or “river side,” of N. River Street, from the intersection with Jennings Avenue to just south of Minnekahta Avenue. Work to include the full reconstruction of southbound lanes while traffic is maintained in the new northbound lanes. Completion of suspended riverside sidewalk.
Phase 6 – Mid-June through November
East half of S. Chicago Street / S. 6th Street, from south of the intersection with University Avenue to the south of the intersection with Detroit Street. Full reconstruction of northbound lanes while traffic is maintained in the new southbound lanes.
Future Construction – 2024
Next year’s plans include the full completion of the entire project, which adds the far north portion, from just south of Minnekahta Avenue near the Evans Apartments along N. River Street and then all the way north to Battle Mountain Avenue and then to Summerville Street which is just east of the Dollar General.
Next year’s plans also include the completion of the redesign intersection near Lynn’s Dakotamart, which connects S. 6th Street, Canton Avenue and S. Chicago, north the “Dip Bridge” in much different way than it does now. While the Hwy. 385 in that area will be completed in 2023, the new westerly path of S. 6th Street will be worked on in 2024, which includes a six-foot retaining wall that allows S. 6th Street to be set below the highway on the west side.