With the unusually warm temperatures and lack of snowfall, the city of Dickinson have continued progress on some projects that were pushed from the summer, including the installation of a high water warning system underneath the Highway 22 underpass.
The Highway 22 underpass will be closed from 1 to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 12, and from 8 to 11 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 13. The Utilities Department has been working on this project since last summer and are now in their final stages of the installment of two blinkers and a high warning sign, which will communicate by radio to the master radio located next to the underpass, Chief Wastewater and Stormwater Operator Duane Zastoupil said. The high water warning system, constructed by Tapco, will detect high water levels, utilizing a combination of fiber-optic, float and pressure sensor technology which provides system flexibility to fit the geographical layout of any area.
Zastoupil said that there are two pumps located in the underpass along with a large culvert. In order to install this system, the road needs to be closed.
“When the water touches the floats, it will trigger a signal to turn the lights on and flash,” Zastoupil said.
Utilities Manager Greg Stack said it’s important to keep highway traffic off that portion of the roadway during these scheduled maintenance periods.
“The manhole that we have to enter to go ahead and install all of the equipment is right in the middle of the street. For safety sakes, we can’t have people trying to drive around them because people don’t slow down,” Stack said.
With the late, heavy rain Dickinson received at the tail end of last summer, it had flooded the underpass and two vehicles were stranded underneath, Stack noted, adding that this system will alert people to not drive through the Highway 22 underpass when the conditions are not safe and prevent situations like that from happening.
“The whole point in this whole system is that we haven’t had an actual automatic system in the past and we’ve been able to go ahead and get it budgeted and passed by city commission to go ahead and have this system put into place. So it’s more of an automatic system, so in other words, if it becomes flooded underneath the underpass, it will start shooting out warning signals saying, ‘There’s water in the underpass — there’s a high water warning. Do not enter.’ And that’s the main thing,” Stack added.