State set to rebid Rushmore Road project - KOTA Territory News

State set to rebid Rushmore Road project

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State officials will decide next month if the rebuilding of Mount Rushmore Road (U.S. Highway 16) will start this year.

The Mount Rushmore Road Group of business owners, workers and residents learned Tuesday, July 15, that construction bids will be sought on Friday, July 18. The state Department of Transportation will review the offers on Wednesday, August 13. The state Transportation Commission will ultimately decide the project's fate.

Refurbishing Rushmore Road has been discussed since 2005. The project stalled earlier this year when bids exceeded the $6.5 million budget for the first phase by at least $3 million.

The rebuilding will start from the Tower Road Overpass and extend through the Flormann Street intersection. Replacing the road surface and buried water, sewer and storm drainage pipelines in the area will continue through 2015.

Rebuilding the rest of Rushmore Road to downtown Rapid City is a multi-year, two-phase project dependent upon highway funding. Some at Tuesday's meeting speculated that federal and state fuel taxes increases may be necessary to fund a growing number of projects and rising construction costs nationwide.

When Rushmore Road is fully rebuilt, changes will include a center median to create turning lanes. That will eliminate the last remaining street parking for historic district homes and businesses.

In steep areas, sidewalks and access for side streets like Clark and South Dakota will be redesigned.

The road's curve near the 1886 McGillycuddy House also will be straightened to comply with traffic safety standards. Highway planners are working out how to avoid harming restoration efforts at the home of Rapid City's famous frontier physician.

The reconstruction project's awareness campaign will not steer traffic away from Rushmore Road. But drivers already are being urged to pay attention.

"We are not detouring traffic away from this roadway," said Dan Stanton, access management engineer for the state Department of Transportation. "Traffic will be carried through, but much of the construction time frame in the areas when construction is underway, there will be one lane of traffic in each direction, so there will be some congestion."










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