Projects happening all over Brookings

With the warmer weather, big and small summer construction projects are in full swing and likely to stay that way until well into the fall, according to City Engineer Jackie Lanning.

“We have a lot of work going on this summer; some of our work is a carry-over from last year,” Lanning said.

With crews so busy, they need room to work.

“Just want to remind the public to be cautious when driving around work construction zones and we really want to thank the public for their patience as we work on our construction projects,” Lanning said. “That definitely plays a role in getting the projects done.”

Strong season

Construction is one of the few things that COVID-19 hasn’t slowed down, and may have even sped up, she said.

“This year it doesn’t appear that the COVID-19 has affected construction. We’ve had a really strong spring season, the weather has been really favorable here in Brookings, and it seems that the virus has not affected our construction at all,” Lanning said. 

“Contractors are using clean practices and cleaning their equipment, social distancing and so forth, and so far, things have moved along really well and we haven’t seen any shutdowns or illnesses among crews as of right now,” Lanning said. 

20th Street South

The area of 20th Street South west of Main Avenue is still under construction by Bowes Construction, she said.

“That project, they had curb and gutter and pavement up to the area west of Larkspur Drive last year, so they’ll be finishing working from Larkspur Drive to the west to Rio Grande Avenue,” Lanning said. 

In addition to curb and gutter, there will be 8-foot wide shared-use paths installed on the south side of 20th Street South, and new street lighting along the south boulevard.

“So that’ll be a really nice benefit … for bicyclists and pedestrians,” Lanning said.

It has been running ahead of schedule, “so we’re hoping that project proceeds really well here this summer,” she said. 

That $3.2 million project is slated to be finished in October.

Overlay project

The overlay project was awarded to Bowes Construction during the April 29 Brookings City Council meeting for $782,571.

Crews will pave over the area that had a new water main installed on Second Street from Sixth Avenue to Medary, she said.

Work will also be done on the east end of Yorkshire Drive, Sunrise Ridge Road, and the valley gutter by The Neighborhoods.

“Faculty Drive will probably be our project with the most amount of work this summer. Brookings Municipal Utilities needs to install water main on Faculty Drive around the entire loop of the road. Then we’ll be patching in the western part of Faculty Drive,” Lanning said. “Then on the east side of Faculty Drive, we will be doing an overlay from Sixth Street to the Village Square Mall driveway.”

“Next year, we’ll have a second phase of some storm sewer north of that and we’ll mill and overlay the rest of the whole street next year,” Lanning said.

Near the campus, they will be working on 10th Street, from 22nd Avenue to 25th Avenue, which is due for a mill and overlay. There are short segments of West Seventh Avenue near the industrial area that need to be reconstructed and repaved, she added.

The alley between Sixth and Seventh avenues, where it connects to Eighth and Ninth streets, will have a mill and overlay, too, she said.

“For this project, the whole contract … (is) a little under $800,000 of work with the overlay project and part of that is paid for by Brookings Utilities for the water main,” Lanning said.

Chip seal projects

Chip seal projects are underway.

“Generally, the chip seal area is Sixth Street and west of Medary, but we’ll have to work around some of those areas with the new Sixth Street construction project,” Lanning said.

“We’re trying to get our chip seals done on that segment, but they also have the construction project going on at the same time, so we’ll work around the detours,” she added.

TopKote Inc. bid the project for $208,177.

Traffic signal

A new traffic signal is coming to Medary Avenue South and Eighth Street South, Lanning said.

“That’s under design right now and we would bid it here this summer and then construct it next year,” she said.

Why the long wait?

“There’s a long lead time on that traffic signal equipment … you almost want to bid it quite a ways ahead of when you want to construct it just because it takes so long for the equipment to get here,” Lanning explained. 

“There’s only two or three manufacturers of traffic signal equipment. There used to be more. And now, it’s just a supply and demand type situation. There’s not enough companies making traffic signal equipment compared to the demand of ordering them, so you place your order, your order gets in line with everybody else and then you wait for it to come,” Lanning said.

Concrete projects

Concreate projects are ramps, sidewalks, fillets/valley gutters. Clark Drew Construction bid $548,432 on the project.

Areas affected are Eighth Street South, the City & County Government Center parking lot and Medary Avenue by the railroad tracks.

“We will be finishing some sidewalk there,” Lanning said.

The railroad company installed new crossing arms at Medary Avenue, but the sidewalk wasn’t finished last year. Permission was granted over the winter for the city to work in the railroad’s right-of-way, so the sidewalk will be done this summer, she said.

“Eighth Street South west of Medary will have all new curb ramps. Then we also have a couple of other areas around town,” Lanning said.

“We’ll be putting in bump-outs at Third Avenue and Third Street by the police and fire station. So that’ll kind of match the downtown bump-out design and it’ll have a shorter crosswalk for the public and then, hopefully, have a more visible intersection for the traffic at that corner. The corners are really small right now. There’s light poles and so forth, and so it’s really hard to have a good curb ramp there so that was one improvement that we wanted to build,” Lanning said.

Sidewalk will be installed on 20th Street South near Medary. 

“We’ve had some calls over the years on installing sidewalk to connect the bike trails on the west side of Medary over to the sidewalk near the soccer complex,” Lanning said.

The new work will connect as an east-west sidewalk.

“That’ll be a really great for pedestrians in the soccer complex area,” Lanning said.

Airport

The apron project is underway at the Brookings Regional Airport.

“We’re replacing the pavement in front of the airport where the fixed base operator is and airplanes tie down,” Lanning said. 

Bowes Construction is in charge of the $2.2 million project and Lanning expects it will be completed this summer.

“That’s been moving along really well,” she added.

“The flight school doesn’t have many operations right now, so we’re trying to get that project done before activity picks up more heavily,” Lanning said.

Shelden field

The construction to change the Bob Shelden Athletic Complex to baseball-only is under way. Clark Drew Construction won the $2.8 million project. Work will encompass the baseball diamond, the grandstand, bleachers and dugouts, as well as the parking lot. 

“We’re really excited about that project,” Lanning said.

She expects most of the project to be completed by November or December.

20th St. S. interchange

Although construction on the Interstate 29/20th Street South interchange won’t start for a while, the design phase is already humming.

The website 20thstinterchange.com has a project presentation for the public to view. There is a presentation from the Brookings City Council meeting for viewing, as well as a link for the project location and study area. A summary of comments is available on the site, too. 

“We did have some meetings with the property owners that have land along (that area and are trying to) incorporate their comments into the design,” Lanning said.

“There’s a number of agencies we’ve contacted for all the environmental factors moving along with the project. The consultant is also working on the street layout options and, in combination with that, finishing the Interstate Justification Report. So there’s quite a few things happening there, all at the same time,” Lanning said. “For us, it’s been moving along really well.”

She plans to address the city council and Brookings County commissioners in August regarding the 30% cost estimate for the project’s budget. 

Moriarty Park drainage

The drainage project for Moriarty Park in the 17th Avenue South/Pebble Beach Drive area will have a storm sewer and detention area.

“And just so the public’s aware, there’ll be a mowed grassy park area. We won’t have standing water with cattails … It’ll be a mowed area and then we’ll have some new trees planted around it,” Lanning said. “That will help with the drainage flow in that region of Brookings. 

“That’s underway right now and that’s scheduled to be done in August, also, so that way, hopefully when school starts in the fall, we’ll have some of these projects underway and a little bit more back to normal,” Lanning said.

Sixth Street

Although the state Department of Transportation is in charge of the construction on Sixth Street, Lanning offered some information on it. 

“That project is also scheduled to be done by the fall,” she said, adding questions should be directed to the DOT office.

COVID-19

COVID-19 has affected her Engineering Department very little, she said.

“Our office is running as usual,” Lanning said.

Although the City & County Government Center was closed to the public for a while, her employees were all working.

“Our office has actually been very busy,” Lanning said.

That’s because they’ve been processing a “very strong” number of building permits this spring. 

“It could be related to people being home more often than usual and just wanting to work on some of those home improvement projects, and contractors have been very busy, so our construction season has really been more active than usual,” Lanning said. A drier spring has been a contributing factor, too.

“All the staff were all working. We have our protocols in place on social distancing, sanitizing and wearing our masks when we’re working closely to people. We’re taking our temperatures every day and those types of factors,” Lanning said.

Contact Jodelle Greiner at jgreiner@brookingsregister.com.

COURTESY OF: The Brookings Register

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