Exit 14 construction ‘basically shut down for winter’

December 28, 2017

SPEARFISH — Crews will be a rarity to see at Exit 14 until spring.

“The project is basically shut down for winter at this time,” Joel Flesner, South Dakota Department of Transportation Belle Fourche Area project engineer, said. “The electrical contractor will continue working on the traffic signal systems and some permanent signs will be installed. Some miscellaneous work may be done this winter if we have any breaks in the weather.”

Construction of the $28 million interchange reconstruction project, being completed by prime contractor Heavy Constructors, of Rapid City, began in March 2016 and has an overall completion date of June 2018. The project has shifted the on- and off-ramps along Interstate 90 to Exit 14; straightened a section of Highway 14A/Colorado Boulevard near the exit, moving the roadway north from where it had been located; created a new, six-lane bridge east of the former bridge’s location, to line up 27th Street south of the interstate; will install new traffic signals on 27th Street at First Avenue and Colorado Boulevard; and will improve pedestrian access through sidewalk on the west side of the bridge and along the west side of 27th Street to the north, with connection to the rec path.

Lane closures on Interstate 90 have been removed, and crews finished paving the last portion of the southbound lanes as well as the eastbound off-ramp recently. They also removed the old eastbound off-ramp and installed electrical conduit under the bridge.

“The contractor has completed 99 percent of the mainline pavement,” Flesner said, describing that crews would resume work on the curb and gutter, raised medians, and other miscellaneous items this spring. In addition, bridge crews have completed all the work they can on the bridge at this time, with the remaining miscellaneous work remaining on the bridge to be completed in the spring.

“We have several miscellaneous items to finish before the overall completion date of June 1, 2018,” Flesner said.

Temporary pavement markings were installed along 27th Street, Flesner added of the recent work that has been completed.

“These pavement markings should get us through the winter until the permanent markings can be installed next spring,” he said. “During the next few weeks the electrical contractor will be working on the signal systems, luminaires, and snow gates. Crews will also continue to install permanent signs.”

Flesner said that traffic appears to be flowing smoothly with the latest configuration on the bridge.

“We are keeping all inbound traffic to a single lane until the signals are functioning,” he said. “One of the benefits of this traffic configuration is that all the traffic is now on a paved surface – no more gravel surfaces with potholes. It should also improve the snow removal operations. The backup of traffic on the ramps has also decreased.”

Flesner said this latest traffic configuration was also necessary to allow the contractor access to some areas in the medians and islands where work still remains.

“With the previous traffic configuration, the contractor was unable to access these areas to complete their work,” he said.

The traffic signal bridge on the new bridge was taken down after it was initially put up in November, due to incorrect measurements, and Flesner said the signal bridge is now expected to be installed by mid- to late January.

“The new spacer plates are on site; however, the manufacturing of the new bolts is taking longer than anticipated,” he said.

Flesner reminded drivers to continue to be courteous and use turn signals when proceeding through the project.

“The majority of the work has stopped now that the cold weather has arrived,” he said. “The electrical contractor will most likely be the only crew on site for the time being.”

More information, maps, and renderings of the project area are available at http://www.sddot.com/travelers/projects/Exit14/.

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