Central City getting an updated culvert

The 60+-year-old culvert underneath Highway 14A in Central City is being replaced with a wider and longer version. The project is scheduled for completion in November. Pioneer photo by Alex Portal

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CENTRAL CITY — The South Dakota Department of Transportation has been working since May to replace the culvert located between Broadway and Central Main streets in Central City.

“We removed the old box culvert,” said Harry Johnston, project engineer for the DOT. “Now we’re working on casting the new one in place.”

Johnston explained that the old culvert had been around since the 1950s and was due for an upgrade. The new culvert will have a higher water flow capacity and will extend far enough away from the road so as to eliminate the need for a bridge and guardrail.

“They’re more hidden than a bridge,” he said. “When you install a box culvert you can pave asphalt right across the top (and) most of the time you never know that you drive over a box culvert.”

Road crews had to remove and reroute, to the north, approximately 600 feet of Highway 14A to make room to construct the downstream end of the culvert. Johnston said that after this year’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, traffic will need to be rerouted again, this time to the south so the incoming end of the culvert can be constructed. 

“We’re essentially building the box culvert half at a time,” he said. “So the other traffic diversion will actually go over the outlet end of the box culvert.”

The $1.8 million project was originally scheduled to wrap up the first of November, but Johnston said late snows and an excess of rain has set the crew back a few weeks.

“You know, we had the area open for construction, then got two feet of snow,” he explained. “We’re trying to make up as much time as we can with these hot dry days.”

There will also be a pipe replacement project further down Highway 14A near Maitland Road, which will begin after Labor Day.

“We will be closing Highway 14A for five days to do that job,” Johnston said. “So traffic will have to go through Lead, to get to Deadwood.”

Johnston said he and DOT understand what an inconvenience these road projects can cause for travelers and commuters.

“We always want to say thank you to the public for their patience,” he said. “We know that it’s a delay.”

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