Construction projects around Mitchell clog main routes
Doing business has been a little harder than usual lately for Ryan Schoenfelder.
His motorcycle business at Discount Joe's is at the center of construction work at North Main Street and East 10th Avenue, where a one-block stretch is being completely rebuilt. The construction has Main and Lawler streets blocked, for now.
Selling bikes has been a little more difficult, but regular customers seeking repairs and fixes still know where to find him.
"We have some of our consistent customers and they get in here and say 'Geez, you really got things torn up here,' and we're like 'Yep, we know,' " Schoenfelder said.
The closure is one of many along a few primary arteries in the city at the moment, as construction detours are in place on Main Street, in front of the Corn Palace, on Burr Street, around Avera Queen of Peace hospital and in the Gainer Park neighborhood along West Second Avenue.
The streets closed in Mitchell, according information provided by the city, include:
• 400 to 600 blocks of West Second Avenue, for total reconstruction, including installation of new water, sewer, curb, gutter and paving; intersections at Edmunds Street and Wisconsin Street are closed for this project.
• 100 block of East 10th Avenue, for total reconstruction, including new water, sewer, curb, gutter and paving; intersections at Main Street and Lawler Street are closed for this project, but the intersection at Main Street could re-open within one or two weeks.
• 100 to 300 blocks of North Burr Street, periodically closed for the next one or two weeks for milling and overlay, and some curb and gutter repairs.
• 1100 to 1200 blocks of East Seventh Avenue, for storm sewer installation.
• 600 block of North Hunter Street, for storm sewer installation.
• 600 block of North Main Street, due to ongoing construction at the Corn Palace.
• 100 block of East Sixth Avenue, due to decorating at the Corn Palace.
Ron Olson, the city's street and sanitation superintendent, said the city is on pace for a typical season of upgrades.
"It really is par for the course for us," he said.
In addition to the road closures, there's also chip sealing projects underway throughout Mitchell, including on Minnesota Street and East 11th Avenue.
The work along North Burr Street, between First and Third avenues, will be off and on, Olson said, because curb and gutter work may allow streets to be open one day but not the next. For example, there were plans to close Burr Street today, but a change in the schedule for the contractor means work won't be done until next week and the road will remain open. The total reconstruction projects on West Second Avenue and East 10th Avenue are expected to take a couple of months.
"I think the majority of people understand that if you want to have the street improvements, you're going to need to be able to put up with some work," Olson said. "I guess no pain, no gain."
Mayor Ken Tracy said he hasn't received any complaints from residents about the closed streets or ongoing roadwork.
"It's just part of the summertime construction we have to conduct to maintain and improve our streets," he said. "It's certainly an inconvenience for some, but it's going to be temporary."
City Council President Jeff Smith said the hassle of roadwork is generally unavoidable this time of year, when the weather is most suitable for the projects.
"In the end it's nice, but it's kind of miserable in the process," Smith said. "I think people, typically, are pretty patient."
Roadwork in a few heavily driven areas of the city, including North Main Street and North Burr Street, is vital, even if it's a problem for drivers, Smith said.
"Those streets probably need more maintenance because of the activity, being main arteries in and out of Mitchell," he said.
Disruptions caused by roadwork aren't unique to Mitchell, Smith said.
"You have to live with it," he said. "Regardless of what city you go to, they have this kind of maintenance going on."
For Discount Joe's, the side street work is right in front of its garage doors, meaning the forklift can't move those incoming bikes and have employees roll them inside. The business will also lose the angled parking that was on the south side of their building, which will be replaced by curb and gutter. The work is worth the wait, however.
"It has cut down on that drive-by traffic that we normally get from people on Main," Schoenfelder said. "But it hasn't been that bad and we're going to have a better street."