Work on Chestnut Street set to begin next week

Work on Chestnut Street set to begin next week by David Lias After more than three years of controversy and two municipal elections, improvements to Chestnut Street in lower Vermillion are finally about to become a reality.

"The contractor does want to start work next week, and we'll be closing the road on Monday and establishing the detour," City Engineer Bill Welk said.

Beginning a week after that, a second contractor will begin construction on a retaining wall needed to make widening of the street possible.

Bids for the street project were let last July. General contractor is Triple R Concrete, Inc. from Hartford. Splitrock Landscaping and Nursery, of Brandon, will build the retaining wall.

"They've done a lot of retaining walls," Welk said. "They did a 32-foot high wall in Winner ? so this isn't one of their bigger walls."

Workers will initially begin clearing out trees between the railroad tracks and the road, Welk said. "There will be one contractor working on storm sewer, and then Splitrock Landscaping will be working on the retaining wall."

Besides installation of underground utilities such as the storm sewer and construction of the retaining wall, this year's work will include a gravel base for the road.

Workers will return in 2005 to add curb and gutter, concrete surfacing, a guard rail and pavement marking.

City crews will also add street lights to Chestnut in 2005.

This year, contractors must have the farm-to-market road open to traffic by Sept. 10.

"They plan on being done by the end of August," Welk said. "That will allow the farmers to use the road in the fall, and we'll keep it open through the winter, and then close it down again next spring."

When first proposed, the street project's estimated cost was $1.3 million to be funded by $600,000 of city sales tax revenue, the state of South Dakota, and Vermillion's share of Federal Surface Transportation Program funds.

The lion's share of the cost – approximately $900,000 would be used in the original design to construct a retaining wall south of Chestnut Street between the railroad tracks.

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