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Public Works Committee sees sparks over road repairs
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Public Works Committee sees sparks over road repairs

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Public Works Committee meeting

Council members Bill Evans, Greg Strommen, John Roberts and Pat Jones talk before the Public Works Committee meeting begins Tuesday afternoon.

Fifth Street may receive a panel repair from Minnesota Street to Catron Boulevard despite a call for reprioritization of residential roads during the Public Works Committee meeting Tuesday.

The project was recommended for approval by a 4-1 vote. Council member Bill Evans voted no on the item.

The Fifth Street repair would include panel repairs, spall repairs, and routing and sealing of cracks in the existing concrete street. Additional spot repair of curb and gutter, spall repairs and panel replacements would be made on West Chicago Street near 44th Street, and the ADA ramp on the northwest intersection of Fifth and Minnesota would be repaired. The advertisement for bid authorization would be $440,000.

Council members Pat Jones and Evans called for prioritizing residential roads over the Fifth Street repair, specifically around Grandview Elementary School.

Five Rapid City Council members met for the Public Works Committee meeting Tuesday.

“I can't picture this chunk of road needing repair more than some of the residential streets in Ward One,” Jones said.

Evans said the streets around Grandview Elementary are the worst in the city and finds them hazardous. He said he would rather delay the reconstruction on Fifth Street.

He said he understands the need for maintenance and prevention of further damage, but thinks it would become a high priority.

Public Works Director Dale Tech said Fifth Street is an arterial road that sees an excess of 10,000 vehicles a day and it’s important to keep the road maintained. He said it’s been more than 15 years since anything has been done on that portion of road.

“We have to spend money to keep our good roads good, that is the biggest bang for our buck in the city, especially on arterial roadways,” Tech said.

He said there’s a number of broken panels in the area.

Tech said the city is fiscally constrained when it comes to roadways. He said at the current rate of funding, it would be 193 years before they got to every road in Rapid City, “so we have choices to make.”

After the meeting, Tech said this is standard practice for any community to do. He said the $440,000 is a good investment on the road. He said if they needed to reconstruct the road, it could be in the $6-$10 million range.

“The longer you defer the maintenance the more expensive the maintenance will be,” he said. “Pavements deteriorate from the day they’re built until the day you do something with them. ... Certainly if they don’t approve this, we would come back in the very near future with the same request. That’s how high of a priority it is for us.”

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Council member Greg Strommen said the arterial roadways still need repair. He said there are streets in any ward in the city that are rough.

“If we’re going to look at reprioritizing things, I’m going to be in there pitching for Carriage Hills and whatever else is in my ward,” he said.

Council member John Roberts said he understands what Jones and Evans are saying, but has seen the council make changes to the Capital Improvement Projects Plan, causing “major problems down the road.”

He said the city should prioritize city projects and rely on city staff.

"Once we get into the position of us that aren't qualified to do that and start pushing through this stuff, we're going to have chaos," Roberts said.

Evans repeated a recommendation for Roberts, staff and council members to drive down the streets. Roberts responded with the gavel and said they weren't going to argue on the item.

The committee also approved two applications to the state, one for a Solid Waste Cell #16 Cover and Gas Collection and Control System Construction and Flare Replacement, and the other for a proposed East Rapid City Water Treatment Plant.

The Solid Waste project was on the State Water Plan in 2020 with construction anticipated to begin in late 2022 and completion in 2023.

The application is an update to keep the city’s name in line for possible funding. In a memo from Assistant Public Works Director Stacey Titus to the council, the construction costs increased from $4.96 million to $6.75 million. The application shows a preference for a combination of grant and loans from the state, but does not obligate the city to any money.

After the meeting, Titus said the project would combine an existing facility for solid waste with an adjacent facility that would make better use of the airspace.

“Everything in Municipal Solid Waste is airspace, which is where you store the garbage,” he said. “It’s allowing us additional places to put the municipal solid waste, it gives us storage area for design life.”

The water treatment plant is the Mountain View Water Treatment Plant, which exceeded its original design life. A Utility System Master Plan from 2008 recommended the city strengthen its water supply system by constructing the Jackson Springs plant and begin moving to replace the Mountain View plant.

The Mountain View plant was built in the early 1960s. Tech said the plant is on the west side of town and growth is happening to the east, so the city has been working on a master water plan that shows a new plant should replace Mountain View with a new plant to the east.

Tech said the new plant would help get water into the city’s distribution system and help with growth, along with providing sustainable water supply to Ellsworth Air Force Base.

He said the city has supplied water to the base since the 1950s and will continue to do so under contract with the federal government. 

The council will see all items from the committee meeting at its 6:30 p.m. Monday meeting.

— Contact Siandhara Bonnet at siandhara.bonnet@rapidcityjournal.com

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