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Rebuilding I-90 port of entry will cost an extra $4.8 million

March 18, 2018 GMT

The South Dakota Transportation Commission learned Thursday the price tag would be about $4.8 million higher for rebuilding the Valley Springs complex where Interstate 90 enters from Minnesota.

State Department of Transportation officials want the additional money to lengthen the deceleration and acceleration lanes, expand the parking area and put in a sanitary lagoon.

The complex now would cost an estimated $14.4 million. That is nearly double the original estimate.

DOT officials explained the changes during a teleconference.

They said the project originally called for constructing a new rest area and welcome center in one building, a new scale-house where trucks would be weighed and a new drive-through building where trucks could be inspected.

The price for those changes, including relocating the concrete teepee symbol, was estimated at $7.6 million.

Federal funding would cover about $2.3 million for a weigh-in-motion system that westbound trucks could use while on the Minnesota side of I-90.

Jason Humphrey, a DOT official, said the need for longer entry and departure lanes, additional parking and grading became apparent. He said the contractor and architect already were working on the layout.

DOT is following a different process rather than the standard practice of accepting the lowest bid on a project, according to Humphrey. He said the changes weren’t part of DOT’s original plan.

“We’ve gone back to the drawing board a number of times,” Humphrey told the commissioners.

He outlined the additional costs, such as a half-million dollars more for the entry and exit lanes, another $2.5 million for the parking lot and grading, and hundreds of thousands of dollars for lighting and various other items.

“It’s the site work,” Humphrey said. “Now that we’ve gotten into the preliminary design, we realize these items are necessary.”

He said some of those costs would be necessary in another 10 years. Doing the work now is cheaper and avoids another shutdown in a decade, he said.

“Essentially get in, get out and stay out for a while,” Humphrey said.

Mike Behm, the department’s director for planning and engineering, said he originally thought the current parking and lanes could be retained.

“It was an oversight on our part to begin with,” Behm said. “Looking back on it, we probably should have added those costs, or could have.”

Humphrey said he couldn’t recall prices for remodels of the Homestead and Wilmot interchanges on Interstate 29. Behm said Homestead is about $3.7 million and Wilmot is about $2.7 million.

Behm reminded commissioners the federal grant for the weigh-in-motion system was approved in about November.

“I just want to be sure we’re talking apples and apples today,” Behm said.