Smooth sailing on Burr Street


So far, so good.

Barring a major storm, the first phase of the $15.7 million Burr Street reconstruction is on track for completion by Nov. 17, putting the second phase on pace to meet its mid-November deadline in 2018.

And despite the standard traffic troubles caused by a full-scale street reconstruction, S.D. Department of Transportation's (DOT) Mitchell Area Project Engineer Rick Brandner said the first phase of the project reconstructing Burr from Havens Avenue to Interstate 90 has gone well.

"Nov. 17 was the original date, and that's what we should get to unless there's some big, major snowstorm event or something like that," Brandner said.

The collaboration between the S.D. DOT and the city of Mitchell — for which the city is on the hook for just more than $1 million — is set to add new concrete surfaces, curb and gutter, roadway lighting, signals and improvements to the adjacent service roads on a large chunk of the major Mitchell thoroughfare. The grass medians throughout the street either will be or already have been removed, and sidewalks have been added, too.

Other than the work to the service roads, which will now exit directly onto Burr instead of Norway Avenue, Brandner said travelers should expect more of the same as the project moves south.

"Next year will be real similar, it's almost identical," Brandner said. "I call it the sister project to this one. They're almost twins."

And fortunately for all involved, Brandner said the work is ahead of schedule due to early progress near Marlin's Family Restaurant. Once the work is completed south of Interstate 90 stretching just beyond Spruce Street, all that will remain in 2019 is roadway striping.

The project runs through the southeastern corner of Mitchell, a ward represented by Councilmen Kevin McCardle and John Doescher. McCardle said he hasn't heard many complaints about the project since it kicked off in April, and most people accept the minor slowing of traffic for the long-term benefits.

"My wife drives to Ethan everyday, and it's full of traffic heading out of town, but once it's open it should be good," McCardle said.

As far as phone calls from concerned citizens, McCardle said they've been few and far between. Doescher agreed, noting the traffic moved swiftly during construction.

"I've been up and down going out to Menards and the like, and it flows pretty good, really," Doescher said.

But drivers heading south on South Dakota Highway 37, toward Mitchell Technical Institute or toward the shopping centers south of Interstate 90, may want to find another route.

Like the temporary closure of the intersection at Burr and Havens Avenue, Brandner said work at the intersection with Spruce Street could cause some temporary obstacles for drivers.

But once the first phase of work is completed, travelers can expect a return to four-lane traffic north of the interstate on Burr. All that remains for work north of the interstate is a small portion that connects with phase two of the project.