Potholes cause damage to vehicles; Admin. says repairs won’t happen this year

After most of the snow had melted in early spring,  junior Casey Schultz was driving her 2018 Kia Soul down 28th street when she heard a crack.

She had hit one of the many potholes that line 28th Street between Grange Avenue and Summit Avenue on the north side of Granskou and Stavig Halls and pulled over to check for damage. A large divot had caused a crack in her front bumper that — after insurance — cost Schultz $950 in repairs.

“[The pothole] was deep enough to mess up the alignment,” Schultz said. “I’m leasing the car…so when I went to the dealer, I had to get it fixed immediately.”

But Schultz isn’t the only student who’s had trouble with the university-owned road in recent years.

Senior Morgan Rothschadl started an online petition through change.org to fix 28th Street in June that garnered almost 290 signatures in its first 24 hours. Since then, the total has increased to 340.

Rothschadl sent the signatures in an email to university President Stephanie Herseth Sandlin and wrote, “this has been an issue for as long as I have been at this University and it has only gotten worse. This street may not be traveled much by faculty, but it is a major traffic area for the students, especially those living in Stavig, Granskou, East, and Tuve.”

The biochemistry major said she received an emailed response from Pamela Miller, Herseth Sandlin’s special assistant, that said the issue wasn’t one that could be fixed overnight.

“It’s awful,” Rothschadl said. “I try to avoid it as much as possible, because I just hate driving on [28th Street]. I feel like every time I drive on it, I’m just breaking my car.”

Why can’t Augustana fix the road?

According to Herseth Sandlin, Augustana owns all of the property to the north of campus, which means that that the university — not the city of Sioux Falls — is responsible for road maintenance.

However, there isn’t enough money left in the budget to do either a temporary or long-term fix this academic year, she said. Parts of the budget allocated for these projects were used to do cement work between the commons and the library, thin some of the trees on campus and make improvements to the chapel.

“We simply had other priorities that we had to address,” Herseth Sandlin said. “Until we have a better sense of where we are with the budget midpoint — given that we’re already facing some challenges — we simply can’t do the temporary or entire resurfacing at this phase.”

Administration has financial quotes for a mill and overlay — which includes grinding the top one to two inches of the road and replacing it — which would extend the lifespan of the road about two to three years, according to Shannan Nelson, vice president for finance and administration.

This short-term fix would cost between $30,000 to $80,000, depending on what portions of 28th Street would be included in the repair.

However, Nelson and Herseth Sandlin said the university needs a longer-term fix that would cost more than the mill and overlay.

“We’re just kind of chasing good money after bad there,” Nelson said.

For now, they’re filling potholes

Until the university can finance a long-term repair, it plans to fill potholes as needed through coal packing, Herseth Sandlin said.

According to Nelson, each treatment costs about $200-$300.

But the university president said she isn’t happy with the results.

“It’s not what I would like,” Herseth Sandlin said. “But it’s what we all have to live with for now. We don’t want to spend money now that wouldn’t be as prudent.”

But down the road, smooth driving awaits

Last January, Nelson said the university conducted a feasibility study to examine all roads and parking lots. Additionally, the president’s cabinet walked through most residential buildings, tunnels and along 28th Street to examine the conditions this past summer.

According to Herseth Sandlin and Nelson, 28th Street repairs will be included in the Vision 2030 strategic plan. Herseth Sandlin said she hopes the road can be addressed during phase one of the plan.

Until then, students like Rothschadl will continue avoiding potholes as much as possible.

“They need to redo the whole thing,” Rothschadl said. “Or what’s the point?”

Leave a Reply

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: