Sanborn Boulevard project less than 10 days away from substantial completion

Shown here is the road closed sign on the portion of Sanborn Boulevard along Ninth Avenue stretching to 15th Avenue. (Sam Fosness / Republic)

What’s been a three-year road construction project on one of Mitchell’s most widely traveled streets is less than two weeks from being substantially completed.

Mitchell City Engineering Supervisor Terry Johnson said the final phase of the Sanborn Boulevard improvement project is expected to meet the substantial completion date on Oct. 30, which would open the road back up for drivers. Crews began working on Phase III of the project in early May, closing the door on work between Havens Avenue and 15th Avenue.

“We’re pretty close to completing the last phase. Pretty much all of the concrete work is done, but we still need to do asphalt tie-ins from 10th to 14th avenues,” Johnson said. “They also need to seal all of the joints on the surfacing and do some striping. Once that is complete, we can open up the roadway.”

The estimated $9 million street and utility improvement project over the 1.5-mile route began in 2018 with Phase I from Havens Avenue to the viaduct bridge over Dry Run Creek, followed by Phase II, which took place in 2019 and ran from the bridge to Seventh Avenue. Phase III entailed the reconstruction work on the portion of Sanborn Boulevard stretching from Seventh to 15th avenues. H&W Contracting, of Sioux Falls, was the company that completed the construction work for all three phases.

The city funded the project with the help of a near $900,000 Bridge Improvement Grant from the South Dakota Department of Transportation, along with utilizing State Revolving Fund loan financing.


Johnson emphasized the substantial completion date means the project is far enough along to allow for use, meaning drivers can travel along the road while crews may need to finish up minor projects. Following the Oct. 30 substantial completion date, Johnson said construction crews may have up to 30 days to tie up any “loose ends.” When the project is all said and done, Johnson said it’s expected to have a 40-year life.

The construction work for all three phases of the project primarily consisted of water main, sanitary and sewer improvements, along with storm sewer upgrades, concrete surfacing, curb, gutter and sidewalk improvements. One of the main goals for the project was to improve the drainage and storm sewers along Sanborn Boulevard, which has had a history of flooding woes.

Public Works Director Kyle Croce said the project is expected to alleviate flooding issues for residents and businesses with property along Sanborn Boulevard.

“The entire water and sanitary sewer and storm sewer were replaced along Sanborn was replaced and upgraded,” Croce said. “The improvements to the entire utility system are a major upgrade. We will alleviate what we think were causing a lot of flooding issues in the past in the immediate area.”

Overall, Croce is pleased with the work that’s been completed in the Sanborn Boulevard project. With the wide usage that the road experiences on a daily basis, Croce said it is one of the most vital improvement projects that the city has been working on for the past several years.

Sanborn Boulevard has averages between 6,000 and 8,500 cars per day from Dry Run Creek north to 15th Avenue, according to South Dakota Department of Transportation traffic data, making it one of the busiest non-state-aid streets in Mitchell, rivaled only by Main Street and Spruce Street.

“It will have a major impact on businesses and residents in the area, along with visitors traveling through the city to see the Corn Palace and downtown Mitchell,” Croce said of the improvements.

The Salvation Army, located at 724 N. Sanborn Blvd., is one of several Mitchell businesses that had to deal with the road closures. While customers were able to access the Salvation Army through a detour that the city set up, Misty Snyder, Salvation Army staff member, said it was a big adjustment for the customers to adapt to. Snyder and the Salvation Army staff are happy to see the fast-approaching completion date.


“It will be so awesome to have Sanborn back open,” Snyder said. “It’s been a little tricky for people to get to us during the construction, so it will be so nice to have a new and improved road that everyone is used to taking to get to us.”

Traffic flows along the portion of Sanborn Boulevard that was recently completed in late October, 2020. (Sam Fosness / Republic)

Sam Fosness joined the Mitchell Republic in May 2018. He was raised in Mitchell, S.D., and graduated from Mitchell High School. He continued his education at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where he graduated in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in English. During his time in college, Fosness worked as a news and sports reporter for The Volante newspaper.
What To Read Next
Get Local