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City hopes to have Lawler, Kimball streets re-opened by mid-July

Driving through Mitchell is about to get a little easier. A portion of Fifth Avenue from Main Street to Burr Street has been closed since mid-April, but the Mitchell Public Works Department hopes to have one section of the street open for the Cor...

A construction crew works on a street renovation project at the intersection of East Fifth Avenue and North Langdon Street on Friday. (Evan Hendershot/Republic)
A construction crew works on a street renovation project at the intersection of East Fifth Avenue and North Langdon Street on Friday. (Evan Hendershot/Republic)

Driving through Mitchell is about to get a little easier.

A portion of Fifth Avenue from Main Street to Burr Street has been closed since mid-April, but the Mitchell Public Works Department hopes to have one section of the street open for the Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo Parade on July 16.

"We're hoping to push to get at least Lawler up to Kimball open by the Rodeo Parade," said Deputy Public Works Director Terry Johnson.

Johnson said the reconstruction project is still on track to be completed in September, but re-opening the section of road between North Lawler and North Kimball streets would create two additional thoroughfares for Mitchell drivers.

The project, which was initially expected to cost $2.15 million until a $680,000 cost reduction was announced this spring, allowed the city to install new sanitary sewer and other utilities under the roadway that were installed in 1922. Johnson said the sewer lines have been completed from Main Street to Davison Street and the other utilities have been finished from Main Street to Langdon.

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Although he has not heard any concerns or complaints about the closed roadway, Johnson still hopes to have the section from Lawler to Kimball open by mid-July. Now, he said, the city is relying on sub-contractors to put new curb and gutter and asphalt on the road before it can be re-opened.

While replacing the utility lines below the street's surface was the project's priority, Johnson said the project also allows the city to replace the crumbling curb and gutter north of the Davison County Courthouse, which had become a safety concern. He also said the street will receive additional storm sewer to help with drainage during larger rains.

When the project began, the city also had to cut some trees down that were too close to the curb and gutters being replaced. If those trees were not taken down, roots could be damaged during the construction work, potentially causing a tree to fall on a home or the street.

With a few months of construction now completed without any major delays, Johnson still sees a lot of benefits to the Fifth Avenue reconstruction.

"The street definitely needed some improvement, and the water and sewer definitely needed some improvement," Johnson said.

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