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Council backs infrastructure improvement plan for Highway 37 in north Mitchell

As part of the $1.8 million infrastructure project, the city will be replacing water main and sanitary sewer utilities stretching from North Harmon Drive to 23rd Avenue near Lake Mitchell, while the South Dakota Department of Transportation works on its own Highway 37 road construction project.

Mitchell City Hall 5.jpg
The front entrance of City Hall, located at 612 N. Main St. (Republic file photo)

The Mitchell City Council on Monday tabbed a local engineering firm to begin designing infrastructure improvement plans along Highway 37 in north Mitchell, where a future road construction project will take place.

As part of the infrastructure project, the city will be replacing water main and sanitary sewer utilities stretching from North Harmon Drive to 23rd Avenue near Lake Mitchell. The council unanimously approved SPN and Associates to lead the design and bidding for the infrastructure project at a cost of $57,000.

The infrastructure project is located within the area where the South Dakota Department of Transportation will be working on a major road construction project in the near future along Highway 37, which entails road repairs, a bridge replacement and a 2 mile installment of shared-use path and sidewalk. As part of the SDDOT’s $16.2 million road construction project that’s slated to begin in 2023, a portion of Highway 37 stretching north from Main Street near Northside Sinclair to National Guard Road will undergo significant improvements.

City Engineer Joe Schroeder said the city’s infrastructure project would work in conjunction with the SDDOT’s project, noting it would be more feasible going that route.

“ SPN is familiar with the project, as they are on the design team. It makes the most sense to go with them considering their involvement in the project,” Schroeder said.

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The city is seeking to bring up to $1.8 million in infrastructure improvements of its own to the area along Highway 37, which mainly consists of water main and sanitary sewer improvements.

Traffic figures from 2018 for the SDDOT indicate that over the next 25 years, average daily traffic will grow by more than 40% to more than 7,200 vehicles per day along the portion of Highway 37. Currently, that figure is about 4,900 vehicles per day.

Schroeder said the SDDOT plans to slightly shift the highway toward the east, which will require some work to be done along the shoreline just north of the spillway dam near Kibbee Park.

“Right now the state is proposing to extend the highway further to the east, and they are looking at doing work and improvements along the bank,” Schroeder said.

Schroeder noted SDDOT officials are in the process of finishing the design phase of the Highway 37 project.

During the SDOT’s public meeting that was held a little over a year ago in Mitchell, project officials said plans of constructing a bridge over the spillway dam for the shared-use path to allow the path to remain along the lake on top of the hill and further away from the highway traffic were also being considered.

Mike Vehle, a Lake Mitchell resident and former state legislator, was among those who attended the public meeting in 2020. Vehle, who is still a member of the state transportation commission, provided some further details on the SDDOT’s project.

“The shared-use path will go across the spillway dam overlooking the lake all the way to the airport road. They will be doing some some tree work on the north side of the spillway,” Vehle said. “This is going to be a neat project, and they will be taking out both bridges.”

Related Topics: GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
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.
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