8th Ave. completely open

This image shows the detour routes around the closure of National Street from Seventh to Eighth avenues. Courtesy image 

BELLE FOURCHE — Belle Fourche’s Eighth Avenue from State to National streets has been reopened since just before Christmas and today the city intends to close down a portion of National Street to allow the construction company to bore underneath the roadway to cap off the remaining portion of the sewer interceptor replacement project.

Although there are road closure signs on at least two portions of Eighth Avenue, some partially blocking the roadway, Interim City Engineer Steve Nafus said Wednesday that the entire road is open for travel.

Bret Olson, with Heavy Constructors, the Rapid City-based construction firm awarded the project, spoke during a construction update meeting Wednesday and told the city that throughout the rest of the week, his crews will be wrapping up odds and ends of concrete work on Eighth Avenue and will move onto the National Street portion of the project.

“We plan on shutting the road (National Street) down tomorrow and getting all the traffic control taken care of on National for the rest of the week,” Olson, with said during Wednesday’s construction update meeting. “Then next week we’ll be trying to get through National with the sewer and the water and hopefully have the utilities complete by the end of the week. And the following week, hopefully just all concrete work and be done with it.”

Olson said that he expects there to be at least one scheduled water shutoff, likely next week, but that it is expected to be of minimal impact to area residents.

Nafus said that the city would alert residents in the event of a shutoff via CodeRed. CodeRed is a free emergency alert program with allow users like the city to send notifications about hazards or emergencies such as fires, floods, hazardous material spills, health threats, drinking water emergencies, and missing persons notices to subscribed community members. Information about how to sign up for CodeRed notifications can be found on the city’s website: www.bellefourche.org.

Nafus said that the city will work to give those who may experience water outages at least 24-hours notice. Additionally, he said any outage should not last longer than eighth hours.

Throughout the duration of the National Street work, Nafus said that Seventh Avenue, which runs south off of National Street beside Lynn’s Dakotamart, will be effectively closed to accommodate for the work and equipment. National Street will be closed from Seventh to Eighth avenues. 

Traffic will be detoured around the closure for the duration of the project. A map of the closure and the detour routes can be found on the city’s website.

The overall project is now more than 18 weeks behind schedule. The original completion date of Sept. 1 was pushed back to mid-October. Work continues now, week following the extension deadline. Each workday beyond Oct. 15 racks up $900 in penalties against Heavy Constructors. Assuming crews worked Monday through Friday, excluding one day each for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years, the construction company is on the hook for more that $53,000 worth of penalties.

Currently, the construction company has not applied for a second time extension that could, if approved by the city, eliminate some or all of the financial penalties.

To date, approximately $3.738 million of the $4.13 million project has been paid, leaving approximately $391,864 worth of budgeted funds remaining.

The project’s design includes a new sanitary sewer main under Eighth Avenue, starting at the State Street lift station, continuing underneath the Belle Fourche River and near the post office at Eighth Avenue and State Street to the south, ending near National Street. 

The city engineer’s office, in conjunction with HDR Engineering, Inc., and Heavy Constructors typically meet every other Tuesday morning to discuss the project’s progress. However, due to scheduling conflicts, the next meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Jan. 23. The construction update meetings are open to the public and held in the upstairs conference room at Belle Fourche City Hall, located at 511 Sixth Ave.

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