LEAD — A city project aimed at renovating a large section of Houston Street in Lead is proceeding on schedule and officials say it should be a relatively simple endeavor.

“We think that it’s going to be a fairly quick project,” City Administrator Mike Stahl said at a public informational meeting on Monday. “Most of the project is simply surface rebuilding.”

Stahl explained that the city had been planning an overhaul of Houston Street for a number of years; however, decided to hold off on the project in order to assess the needs of the Sanford Underground Research Facility’s upcoming LBNF/DUNE construction and the influx of large trucks that will be transporting equipment to the facility via the Houston Street route.

“We had planned on doing a mill and overlay probably about three years ago, but we started hearing about the needs of the underground laboratory,” Stahl said. “Well we went out and started looking at maybe making this a bigger project.” 

Stahl said that the city had applied for and obtained approximately $915,500 in funding from the state, which would leave between $140,000-$160,000 to be funded by the city.

Stahl broke the project down to 4,800 feet of road surface being replaced by 12 inches of base course, topped with 5 inches of asphalt overlay. 

“It’ll be a more robust road,” he said. “It’s designed to take the truck traffic that we’re anticipating.”

Stahl said that in addition to the surface construction, 800 feet of water line would need to be updated between the area where Houston and Mill Streets meet. 

He laid out a time line for the project, which will begin in May and carry through to the end of July. The concern was raised about traffic during the Fourth of July celebration in Lead, which could attract thousands of patriotic participants to town. In years past, the Houston Street route has proven to be a useful alternative to Main Street for residents to get across town, avoiding much of the congestion caused by hordes of people leaving town at the same time.

“Well that’s probably going to have to be managed,” Stahl said.

One area residents will be most affected by the project will be the large open area at the top of Mill Street. Stahl explained that area would need to be kept clear in order for the semi trucks carrying large pieces of equipment to access the entrance to the Ross Shaft Campus. Many residents who live in that area currently use the large space for parking.

 “(The truck drivers) will have to make one loop (at the top of Mill) to get into the Ross,” he said. “ That will be an elimination of parking in the center of that, in the long term. Not immediately, because I don’t think the big trucks will be coming for a while. … But we’ll have to eliminate that parking.”

It was suggested that those residents who utilize the parking on top of Mill Street during the winter months could temporarily park in the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center’s parking lot until city crews could clear the street.

“We’ll allow anybody to park in that visitor’s center anytime they want,” Stahl assured. “We’d like to have people have a place to put their vehicle.”

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