When rain or snow falls on the state, some roads turn into a dangerous place for drivers. That's why the South Dakota DOT is trying out a new surface treatment in Sioux Falls.
Interstate 229 through Sioux Falls sees about 33,000 drivers every day. On Wednesday, work will begin between 18th Street and 26th Street. DOT officials say adding new technology will help make the drive safer for everyone.
According to the Federal Highway Administration, crashes are three times more likely on curves like this one between the 10th Street exit and the 26th Street interchange.
That's why the DOT is trying some new technology to hopefully prevent future accidents on I-229.
"The first part of the project is preparing the roadway surface. We'll be doing some grinding and cleaning of the roadway surface. After that, the next is to spread an epoxy resin, and then spread an aggregate that's very hard and angular and embeds itself into the epoxy. It improves the traction between the tire and the roadway," Travis Dressen, Sioux Falls Area Engineer with DOT, said.
This epoxy coating is new to the state, making this the first time this treatment is used on South Dakota roads. And it could be life saving.
20 percent of crashes on I-229 have happened at this location.
"We're really trying to correct those issues that we see during wet conditions, slick conditions, wet roadways, slush or ice on the roadway that people aren't prepared for," Dressen said.
While safety comes first, the high-friction coating will also help maintain the integrity of the road for years to come.
"We also see some secondary benefits as we place the epoxy over the surface of the roadway. It also seals out some of the water, de-icing chemicals that can get into the roadway. But again, the primary focus on this is safety," Dressen said.
This work is scheduled to start on Wednesday, August 6.
During construction, this section of the interstate will be dropped to one lane. Dressen advises drivers to take a different route until work is finished at the end of the month.
The total cost of the project is about $423,000 and it should be complete by August 23.