STURGIS — Crews already are working on repairs to two crossings into Sturgis City Park.
The crossings were heavily damaged in flooding along Bear Butte Creek from storms that struck Sturgis and areas upstream in Boulder Canyon on July 4 and 5. The city estimated damage totaling about $500,000.
City council members July 15 unanimously approved resolutions for emergency repairs to the crossings at the Sly and Blanche streets.
Monday, City Manager Daniel Ainslie told council members that since the July 15 meeting, city staff have spoken with several contractors to get estimates for the repairs of both of the crossings into the city park.
FEMA inspectors visited the damaged areas days after the flooding. Damage estimates were included in a disaster declaration passed by the Meade County Commission on July 23.
“Keeping with FEMA standards we are only essentially rebuilding them. We are making a few minor upgrades, but we cannot make substantial changes to build a bridge there,” Ainslie said.
The city does know that one of the crossings has qualified for some FEMA reimbursement, but they have not heard if the second crossing has.
“We believe it likely will, but we are still going through that process,” Ainslie told the council.
The customary timeframe for the city to develop engineer-approved plans and complete the traditional public bid process for construction and repairs under state statute is between 60 to 90 days. But because this is an emergency situation, the city is allowed to forego the bid process and seek bids from contractors directly.
The best estimate the city received to fix the Sly Street bridge was from North Star Construction in the amount of $19,029.
“Once work begins on it there could be some adjustments both up and down. This was not a fully spec’d out project just to make sure we get it started as soon as possible. It was based off best estimates,” Ainslie said.
North Star also bid to reconstruct the Blanche Street crossing into the city park at a cost of $102,325. Additionally, the city has purchased several culverts, at a price of $55,847, that will be installed at the Blanche Street crossing.
“We purchased that separately directly from the supplier. Doing so we were able to save the contractor overhead, and we are also able to get it at a lower price because we were able to purchase it at a government rate instead of private-sector rate,” Ainslie said.
City Councilor Ron Waterland asked if the contractor gave any indication of a timeline for the projects.
Preliminary work on the Sly Street bridge began this week, and they are hoping the bridge will be open in early September, Ainslie said.
“Once that one is open, then we will reopen city park,” he said.
The culvert system should arrive for the Blanche Street crossing in late August, and construction would then proceed on that crossing, Ainslie said.
“It should only be a week and a half to two weeks to complete once we get the culverts in,” he said. “We are hoping that one would be in by mid-September.”
Councilmember Steve Keszler, a teacher at Sturgis Brown High School, asked if there would be football games at Woodle Field before the crossings were finished.
“(That) is not before Sly Street is anticipated to be open. We are working to get it done,” Ainslie said.
Keszler asked if someone from the city was in contact with the high school concerning the crossings so if they were not finished other arrangements could be made.
Ainslie said Public Works Director Rick Bush has been in contact with high school staff.
“We’re trying to get it open as quickly as possible, but it’s not a guarantee,” he said.
The Scoopers’ first home football game is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 13 against Brookings.
Councilmember Rhea Crane asked that if, for some reason, the crossings were not finished, would it be possible to use Woodland Drive, which is mostly a dirt path into the city park.
“It could be,” Ainslie said.
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