Connecting the City

Conner Lulow of DRM Construction, Inc. measures a line for a water main on the new extension of S. Windriver Drive on Sept. 25.

It’s finally happening – dirt is moving, trenches are being dug and construction is underway on S. Windriver Drive to complete the connection between West Yellowstone HWY and West Richards Street.

Croell, a Midwest construction, concrete and paving company with offices in Douglas, won the bid to complete the work earlier this summer. DRM Construction, out of Gillette, is performing sub-contractor work on the project.

Much to the delight of school bus drivers, council members, city officials and the community, Croell started work on the S. Windriver connection Sept. 23.

City Administrator Jonathan Teichert said after 15 years of discussion amongst city officials regarding connecting the two major thoroughfares in Douglas, it’s nice to finally see progress being made.

The city acquired the land, valued at $569,159, in September 2019 from Douglas LLC’s Art Paterson. Paterson donated the property, located in the Meadow Acres and Meadow Acres No. 2 subdivisions, to the city in exchange for infrastructure completion on S. Pearson Street (adjacent to Pearson’s remaining lots near the N. Platte River). Eventually, S. Pearson Street will also make a connection between W. Yellowstone and W. Richards.

Douglas construction and developers, including city council candidate Ron McNare of K&R Construction, initially were worried the Meadow Acres subdivisions may be problematic for anyone developing the property due to water running through (and under) the lots.

The contractor’s earlier concerns could be an indicator of things to come, as Teichert mentioned construction crews were down eight feet (in the sewer line trench) when they encountered water and were then pumping it out as fast as they could on Sept. 24.

“There’s some high ground water and springs in certain areas,” Teichert confirmed later.

“We’ve found that it’s hit and miss. That was our experience installing storm sewer on Pearson and Leal Streets (as well),” he said. “Crews are pumping water out as they work.”

Teichert did not appear overly worried about crews discovering water during the sewer line installation. He said a plan is in place to mitigate any water encountered, should it be necessary during construction, and later, during the housing development planned with TLC Developments out of Sheridan.

TLC’s Tom Civin is still planning on developing approximately 90 single and multi-family housing units on the land between S. Pearson and S. Windriver in the near future.

Teichert confirmed the city is still in talks with Civin regarding the housing development.

Civins said he was not aware of any water under the property during an interview with the Budget in July.

However, dealing with water on that section of property is not a new development, according to Teichert.

“We anticipated the lots would be on a vented crawl space instead of basements. We may look at storm sewer for Meadow, Blackbird and Sparrow streets,” he stated.

Construction on S. Windriver is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year, Teichert said, although it will ultimately depend on how soon freezing temperatures show up and stay for the winter season.

“We’re hoping to at least get the bottom lift down before winter – barring any winter shutdown of paving,” he said.

This construction project, and others going on around the city, are adding to the local economy, an economy still hard hit by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and energy bust.

“Croell is based out of Douglas and so I’m guessing they have (hired locally). Their material is from a pit here in Converse County. Materials (are) purchased here. DRR (Construction) is doing some of the subcontracting work. They’re based out of Gillette, but I believe they are staying in Douglas, as they have several other projects around town going on at this time,” he said.

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