NewsDecember 30 2015

Snow arrived the day after Christmas

Posted by Lucy

Presho city workers Pat Mitchell in the loader and John Uthe driving the truck have logged a number of hours clearing streets during the month of December. The area has received a snow fall nearly every week this month, which produced a monthly snow fall total of approximately 20 inches. Weather conditions December 24 and part of 25th were dry with high temperatures around 35 degrees. But, that changed late Friday evening when sleet, then snow hit central South Dakota. The day-after Christmas winter storm dumped nearly 8 inches of snow in Presho according to weather observer Mike Sprenger. Other reports from observers include 6 inches at Kennebec and around 9 at Reliance. Another weather event arrived Tuesday morning bringing another additional snow to add to the monthly total.

NewsDecember 30 2015

Officials urge holiday safety

Posted by Lucy

PIERRE, S.D. – With the New Year’s holiday occurring this week, officials of the South Dakota Department of Public Safety are encouraging people to be safe with their celebrations.

Many people will travel during the next week. Col. Craig Price, superintendent of the South Dakota Highway Patrol, says drivers need to be patient and watch for others.

"We know many people will be traveling not only on the holidays themselves, but also on the days before and after each holiday," says Price. "As always, Highway Patrol troopers will be out there, helping remind motorists to be safe."

In 2014, five people died in fatal crashes during the Christmas reporting period but none during the New Year’s period. Lee Axdahl, director of the Office of Highway Safety, says with all of the activities surrounding the holidays, people need to still practice road safety.

The need to be safe goes beyond just traveling. State Fire Marshal Paul Merriman says the holiday season brings increased fire risks to the home as well.

All three DPS officials say despite all of the activities that come with the holidays, people still need to make sure they and their families remain safe.

NewsDecember 23 2015

Merry Christmas

Posted by Lucy

Pick up this week's issue and take a look at our Christmas Special Section. Includes Holiday Greetings, letters to Santa and concert photos.

NewsDecember 23 2015

Railroad equipment parked for winter

Posted by Lucy

Reconstruction work along the Mitchell-Rapid City (MRC) railroad line through Lyman County has come to a stop for the winter according to Bruce Lindholm of the South Dakota Department of Transportation. Lindholm presented an update on the reconstruction project to members of the MRC board last Thursday at a meeting in Chamberlain.

"Progress has been good and the project is on schedule," said Lindholm.

Railworks Tracks Systems the contractor on the reconstruction project parked their equipment and shut down for the winter but not before laying 13 miles of rail from Reliance west to Kennebec. Crews will return in the spring to replace ties as needed along the line.

Rail, air and transit administrator Lindholm explained that Railworks intends to lay all the heavy rail and then come back with tie gangs to replace wood ties as needed.

"It’s opposite of how the reconstruction project was handled east of Chamberlain," Lindholm said.

"There they replaced ties first, and then put the rail in."

The majority of the work has been completed on the bridge over the Missouri with the exception of a few minor details. All the wood elements have been replaced. The smaller bridges between Oacoma and Reliance have also been repaired. Work will resume on bridges west of Reliance in the spring.

Approximately 60 culverts have been lined, completing that part of the project.

The project is expected to be completed in September of 2016. When asked if there was any chance it could be completed before September, Lindholm explained that loads of ballast (rock) will need to be hauled in and unloaded after all rail and ties are replaced.

The project requires 13,000 tons of ballast per mile. That’s 551 cars (100 tons per car) that must be brought in by train and unloaded.

"It will take a 15-car train 3-days time to bring in ballast, unload, and return to the quarry for another load," said Lindholm, who estimates it could take 37 trips to haul all the ballast to the area.

"Just the logistics of scheduling that many trains around other traffic on the line will take some time. I don’t foresee completion of the line before September," said Lindholm.

The rehab project is moving along and contracts for materials is in line also.

"We saved a little on liners as some culverts didn’t need liners but we also had some ties rejected and will need to buy replacements," said Lindholm.

Lindholm remains optimistic that future funding for railroad expansion can be found to continue the reconstruction project further west to Murdo.

"There is definitely interest out there to see the line expanded past Presho," said Lindhom. "We’ll continue to look for funding."

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