Shared use path to be built along Highway 19

By Travis Gulbrandson

The South Dakota Department of Transportation (DOT) has been authorized to let bids on a plan to construct a shared use path along Highway 19 in Vermillion.

The action was taken Dec. 16 at the Vermillion City Council’s most recent meeting.

The path will be constructed to help diminish the number of pedestrians and bicyclists from using highway, and will run from Highway 50 south to West Cherry Street along the east side of the highway.

City engineer José Domínguez said the DOT is requiring the city to authorize them to bid, review and award the project without the city’s review of the bids, similar to the Stanford Street expansion.

He added that the DOT estimates the cost of construction at approximately $187,000.

“However, when you include the engineering fees and the construction administration fees, the total project would go up to $244,000,” Domínguez said. “It should be noted that the city has already paid … all of the engineering fees for the project to be assigned and bid.

“When you remove this from $244,000, it goes down to $207,000,” he said.

Domínguez added that the city still has approximately $228,000 of its original project grant, which was three-quarter of a million dollars.

“We estimate that once all the reimbursements are made, the city will have actually paid $37,000, roughly speaking, of that original $207,000,” he said.

Once the path is completed, the city will be responsible for all maintenance.

Domínguez said that while no date has been set for the bid-letting, it will probably take place in the first quarter of 2014, and that the DOT wants construction finished no later than Nov. 1.

Council member Tom Davies asked whether any additional signage relating to the path would be placed on Cherry Street, and whether traffic or bikes would have the right-of-way.

“I know who wins if they run into each other,” he said.

In terms of right-of-way, Domínguez said pedestrians will be crossing Cherry Street on the west side of the highway similar to how they do now.

“What’s going to happen is that you’re going to cross Highway 19, because they’re stopped already,” he said. “You’re going to cross north where you’re crossing right now, and then you’re going to cross east, and then you’re going to go north along the east side of Highway 19.”

Domínguez said he thinks there will be some signage, but that there are manuals that govern signage.

“All of them have a warrant, and you have to meet the warrant in order to put a stop sign or a four-way or a signal,” he said. “The thing with that is, that’s usually more reactive than proactive, so we have to wait until (we know) the volume.”

The council members voted unanimously to authorize the DOT to let the project.

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