Repairs coming to Chamberlain’s 'really rough' King Street
Regrading, widening expected to be finished in November
CHAMBERLAIN — The South Dakota Department of Transportation is preparing to improve several miles of King Street in Chamberlain this summer.
The portion of road due for repairs, which stretches from the intersection of the street with Interstate 90 to the railroad bridge on the east side of Chamberlain, has been in need of repairs for some time, said Jay Peppel, the Mitchell Area Engineer for the SDDOT Mitchell Regional Office .
“The road coming up the hill out of Chamberlain is getting really rough due to pavement conditions,” Peppel told the Mitchell Republic recently. “That area in the hills likes to slide a lot, and the road was getting really rough.”
The pavement along the 3.3-mile stretch of King Street from the railroad bridge over the Missouri River to Interstate 90 has a tendency to buckle due to ground conditions, Peppel said. That can cause heaves and general road breakup, making the road rough and a not-entirely pleasant experience to drive on, he said.
Chad Mutziger, mayor of Chamberlain, said road construction on a main artery can be an inconvenience, but the street has been in need of repair for some time.
"The work is much-needed," Mutziger said.
The new construction will hopefully offer a long-term solution to the condition of the road. The road is notorious for shifting, something that comes with the territory with roads on the Missouri River bank.
"Hopefully this project is going to give us that long-term stability, because the road moves and shifts," Mutziger said. "It seems like everything moves toward the water in Chamberlain, and there's a lot of movement. We're excited about getting it fixed. (The DOT) is going to maintain some traffic through it and our citizens are well-versed on how to get around it when need be."
The work will be done in two main sections. A 1.1-mile stretch from Interstate 90 to Sorensen Drive will include a road widening project that will see a shoulder added to the road as well as a third center lane for making left turns. That will improve road safety as well as the grade and surface of the road, Peppel said.
“There are some safety concerns, and that’s the reason for the turning lane - to help avoid rear end collisions,” Peppel said. “So it’s not to just fix the roughness of the road, but to improve safety along that stretch.”
The second main stretch of construction will take place on a 2.2-mile stretch between Sorensen Drive and the railroad bridge on the west side of Chamberlain and the east side of the Missouri River. That section of road will get a complete regrade to help improve the quality of pavement, Peppel said.
“They are going to be regrading from the railroad bridge in Chamberlain all the way to Sorensen Drive. That will basically be a complete regrade. We’ll tear the asphalt off, regrade the road and put new asphalt down,” Peppel said.
King Street is a major spur off Interstate 90 that carries visitors off the highway north and west into the main body of Chamberlain. The road features a number of different businesses, including hotels, restaurants, department stores and industrial outlets before entering the downtown area of Chamberlain.
Peppel said that portion of King Street is a busy stretch of road, though he did not have specific figures on traffic volume available for the street. He said local drivers may find traffic slowed during some of the busier times of day when construction is fully underway. Normally a four-lane stretch of road from Sorensen Drive to the railroad bridge, Peppel said that portion of the construction project would occasionally be reduced to a single lane as work progresses, though the road will remain a four-lane highway after construction.
Drivers should expect delays during the construction project, which is expected to be completed sometime in November of this year.
“Right now it’s a four-lane section up and down the hill, and that will be reduced to one lane in both directions,” Peppel said. “Drivers should probably expect flaggers during the work,” Peppel said.
Mutziger said he is looking forward to getting the work completed with as little inconvenience to life and business as possible.
"It's going to be a change for us, but it sounds like a short timeline, and they want it open as much as we want it open," Mutziger said. "Everybody has to be patient, understanding and careful."
The regrading and widening project will be the largest road construction project for the SDDOT in the Chamberlain area this year , Peppel said, and it is expected to bring a higher level of driving quality and safety to an important section of road. While the work may cause some inconvenience at times, Peppel asked that drivers be patient with workers as they aim to complete the project.
“Just be cautious of the construction, and just be safe,” Peppel urged area drivers.