Weather smiles on Dakota Street workers

Weather smiles on Dakota Street workers
Mother Nature has smiled this week on Sioux City Engineering, the contractors for the Dakota Street resurfacing project in Vermillion.

Sunny skies and warm temperatures have allowed workers to make good progress on the second phase of the project.

The contractor has also brought in a second crew of workers to hopefully make up some lost time when weather conditions put a halt to the project.


The activity gives hope to people who must have access to The University of South Dakota buildings that line the street. Presently, motorists must negotiate a small, bumpy stretch of gravel road that connects the parking lot west of the I.D. Weeks Library to the parking lots located south of the Al Neuharth Media Center.

Phase 2 of the street work hit a snag last month when Vermillion found itself drenched with rain for nearly every day during a week, leaving the torn-up area of the street a sloppy mess.

Guy Richardson, the foreman of the project, noted that his crew is pushing ahead to complete the project as soon as possible.

Richardson said the soil that has been exposed under Dakota Street's surface is very wet.

It takes extra time, he said, for sand mixing and digging to get the soil ready for proper compaction and stability.

Unlike preparing a large building site for construction, Richardson said, the tight confines of the street hinders hauling out bad material and putting in good material.

The first phase of theDakota Street project began April 18. Workers began at the intersection of Main and Dakota, and moved north, closing off a stretch of the street to the south line of the intersection of Main and Dakota.

Coffins

One can expect to find utility wires and older storm and sanitary sewer lines when the old soil that had been under a street is removed.

One can also find coffins – not the type that are found in cemeteries, however.

Richardson said a coffin is a term used for the building material placed in a trench to protect workers from cave-ins.

According to the best estimates of the contractors and engineers, the second phase of Dakota Street should hopefully be complete by the first week of November, according to City Manager John Prescott.

During the Phase 2 work, the construction crew had located all current electric, water and sewer utilities, but had also unearthed a number of abandoned lines.

It's not unusual, Prescott said, for workers to be surprised by finding more utility lines than originally expected.

Efforts are taken today to accurately map out each utility as it is buried. That didn't alway happen in the past, Prescott said, and such details of utility lines' locations weren't always well recorded. Prescott said he has been asked why workers began the project on the south stretch of Dakota Street instead of the northern half along the university.

Since gravity feeds the drainage systems and they were involved, he said, the street reconstruction had to be done from south to north.

When complete, Dakota Street will feature not only a new surface, but also new storm and sanitary sewer lines. Electrical and cable utilities located along the street won't be replaced or upgraded.

Those lines, which once had been located above the street, were buried along Dakota Street in recent years.

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