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Timmons Construction Partners with South Dakota DOT on US 14/6th Street Reconstruction

by: Debra Wood
Timmons Construction paves a section of U.S. 14 with a GOMACO 9000 in Brookings, South Dakota.
Timmons Construction paves a section of U.S. 14 with a GOMACO 9000 in Brookings, South Dakota.
The project added a center turn lane on U.S. 14.
The project added a center turn lane on U.S. 14.
A completed section of U.S. 14.
A completed section of U.S. 14.
Crews pave the new main lanes.
Crews pave the new main lanes.
Timmons Construction paves a section of the project.
Timmons Construction paves a section of the project.
A city-state collaboration has brought Brookings, South Dakota, a reconstructed U.S. 14/6th Street through the center of town, increasing safety and traffic flow.

“Sixth Street is the major road through the town of Brookings,” says John Rittershaus, Project Manager for the South Dakota Department of Transportation (SDDOT). “That roadway was in poor shape.”

U.S. 14/6th Street was built in the late 1960s and had started degrading and was reaching the end of its useful life. Previously, the department had updated the western and eastern ends of the road, and this was the final segment to receive attention. About 10,500 vehicles daily drive on the road, between Main and Medary Avenues, passing through business and residential neighborhoods.

About 25,000 people live in the Brookings, which was founded in 1879 on a railroad route. It remains a strong agricultural center, especially for seed products. The city is located in the eastern portion of the state in the Big Sioux River Valley. It was named for Judge Wilmot W. Brookings, an early settler and pioneer who promoted the city.

More recently, manufacturing has dominated the economics of the region, including Daktronics, a producer of video screens. The city also includes South Dakota State University, a major employer and home to more than 12,000 students each year.

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The current $5.74 million reconstruction project (Main to Medary Avenue) widened the two-lane road in both directions by adding a center turn lane, which increased safety along the corridor. The work included removal of the existing road; installation of a new storm sewer; grading; placement of concrete pavement; curbs and gutters; widening the sidewalk to an 8 foot shared-use path on the north side of the road and 5 feet on the south side; roadway lights; traffic signals; and pavement striping. All work was done within the existing right of way.

In addition to the road work, the City of Brookings added utility work as a second contract.

“We had some aging infrastructure, so it was a great opportunity to work together and do our project with theirs to save time and spend dollars more efficiently,” says Chad Bachman, Engineering Supervisor for Brookings Municipal Utilities.

Road Construction Activity
Timmons Construction of Brookings, the successful low bidder, received the $4.76 million road contract and the $1 million utility contract. Brad Timmons formed the company in 2005 and built a reputation for delivering high-quality projects with great customer service. The company performs commercial, municipal, agricultural, and residential projects.

Work on this project began in May 2020. Phase 1 opened to traffic in July 2020, with traffic flowing on Phase 2 in September 2020. The contract set the time-frame for work that disrupted traffic for 120 days from start to finish.

“We got it done at day 117,” Timmons says. “The biggest obstacle we had was the short time period.”

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Timmons Construction completed a similar project on 22nd Avenue in Brookings last year.

SDDOT designed the project and divided the 2.5-lane mile job into two phases, with three blocks in each segment, each with a 60-day completion schedule. The road was closed to allow construction in the first phase and then the second. Local traffic was detoured in town to 8th Street, and through traffic rerouted to the Highway 14 bypass.

Timmons Construction crews did all of the concrete reconstruction work, and relied on a number of subcontractors for remaining contract items. Rounds Construction of Brookings removed the old concrete surface and base, which was kept and will be recycled and used on other projects. Rounds also completed the grading and base placement along with the construction of a new right turn lane at the intersection of 22nd Avenue. Bowes Construction completed all asphalt paving on the project, which included intersecting road and parking lot tie-ins.

Winter Contracting of Brookings installed all of the underground utilities, including a new 6-foot diameter storm sewer pipe for two blocks. Muth Electric of Mitchell, South Dakota, removed the old light poles and roadway lights and traffic signals.

Once the utility work was complete, Rounds placed 12 inches of gravel and a geotech fabric, which stabilizes the grade on the new lanes. Rounds used a Trimble total station machine-controlled motor grader to ensure accuracy and quality. Following this work, Timmons Construction crews paved the new roadway section with 8.5 inches of Portland cement concrete.

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“We ran two pavers on this job so we didn’t have to change switch molds,” Timmons says. “We had a left hand set up and a right hand setup…We saved a couple of days by incorporating another paver.”

The contractor did not encounter any environmental issues. Austreim Landscaping of Brookings received the landscaping subcontract, which included installing modular retaining walls and erosion control work.

Following completion of the project, the city and private entities furnished and planted new trees along the route to help restore some of the canopy that was lost from the construction.

Utility Upgrades
Brookings Municipal Utilities had approximately 80-year-old infrastructure removed and upgraded. The utility company increased the size of the underground water and sanitary sewer lines, and replaced telephone wires and electrical ducting. The utility company completed the design and managed the construction and observation. Subcontractor Winter Contracting completed the sanitary sewer and water installation.

Muth Electric and Clites Electric Construction of Brookings completed boring and placing conduit for electrical feeder lines. Muth also updated and reprogrammed decorative lights in Phase 2.

“The coordination between the city and the SDDOT was great,” Bachman says. “I am glad it’s finished. This was a fantastic project and great for the community.”

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Phase 2 opened to traffic on August 28, 2020. Clean up and miscellaneous punch list items were completed in the following weeks. Timmons finished the project three days early, earning Timmons Construction an early completion incentive for Phase 2. Timmons credits some of that to ideal weather conditions and teamwork.

“It was a smooth project, and we worked with many of the same contractors as we did last year on 22nd Avenue,” Timmons recalls. “We worked with a good group of guys who worked together well.”

Now with the road open, traffic flows better and people are enjoying the sidewalks, lighting and landscaping.

“I’ve grown up in Brookings, went to school in Brookings, and worked in Brookings and I have been involved in each one of these 6th Street projects,” Rittershaus concludes. “Traffic flow is way better, and it’s much safer for drivers and pedestrians. I’m proud to have been a part of that.”

Photos courtesy of Timmons Construction

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