Sidewalk project braces for snow

Gray Hughes

With snow and colder temperatures in the forecast, work is being done quickly on the Hill City sidewalks to prepare, although crews are predicting lost days due to weather.

At their weekly sidewalk meeting held Monday, however, both the crews working on the sidewalk and city officials expressed their pleasure with how the project is going.

“Everyone seems pleased,” said Brett McMacken, city administrator for Hill City. “We haven’t heard any negative feedback.”

Work this week will focus on pouring concrete for the retaining walls as well as curb and gutter work before shifting focus to the upper portion of the sidewalk.

Kathy Skorzewski, Hill City mayor, said once work is about to begin on the upper portion of the sidewalk, she would like McMacken to go to businesses to inform the businesses as to what is happening and to coordinate if and when a business should close.

The snow this week is forecasted to slow work down.

“It’ll be tough,” said David Buck of Complete Concrete, the firm responsible for work on the project.

Skorzewski expressed her confidence in the crew and reiterated the fact that crews, by her account, are doing a good job with the work.

Buck, changing subjects, wanted to know if the city still wanted to work on staining the walls of the sidewalk. Skorzewski said at this time the city has nixed the idea.

“We will talk about maintenance on a regular basis, though, “ she said. “We will have a schedule so we can preserve the sidewalks for as long as we can.”

The railing on the upper sidewalk (at this time temporary but will be permanent once work is done) has also done a good job of helping people realize where they need to walk, she added.

McMacken brought up the fact that, since work on the sidewalk began, it appeared as if the roof of the awning over the Beef Jerky Store had begun to bow in the middle. He added that he is not sure if it is a safety issue, but it is something crews will want to keep an eye on as they continue their work.

But the possibility of snow continued to weigh on the crews’ and officials’ minds.

“The snow and bad weather could not come at a worse time,” said Scott Donnelly of Complete Concrete. Donnelly said crews lost some hours last week because of rain.

This week, the snow could be wet and heavy, too, Buck said.

Skorzewski, though, said she was going to play the “optimist card.”

“There are no more events in town until Girlfriends Weekend (held annually in November),” she said. “We should see a decrease in foot traffic until then.”

The decrease in foot traffic, she said, would mean crews do not need to rush and worry about getting in people’s way.

During this time, the crews and city officials need to brainstorm a way as to how to deal with the upper sidewalk, said Lee Jacobson, of Complete Concrete.

Jacobson suggested the possibility of constructing ramps. That is a possibility that might work, Buck said, along with detouring people to the other side of the sidewalks.

With businesses in Hill City closing for the season, McMacken said crews will have fewer businesses to worry about when doing ramping to the upper sidewalk.

The ramps, Buck said, will need to go out to the street.

Skorzewski once again expressed her pleasure with the project, saying the amount of efforts crews are putting in to make sure the flow of foot traffic is not impeded is greatly appreciated.

Donnelly reiterated the fact that the weather is going to slow down progress on the project.

“If we pour the concrete and blanket it, I say let it snow,” said Keith Winter of the South Dakota Department of Transportation.

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