Drivers are hoping planned improvements at one of Sioux Falls busiest intersections will lessen their likelihood of being stuck in traffic. The City is looking at adding another eastbound lane at 41st and Minnesota as part of a series of fixes to reduce backups and crashes.
46-thousand cars pass through 41st and Minnesota every day. Starting in 2016, the city plans to reduce further bottlenecks at the intersection by adding a right turn-only lane at 41st Street. The next lane over would take traffic through the intersection and continue onto 41st Street. The two inside lanes would be for left turns only. Drivers and businesses located at the intersection are encouraged by the prospects of seeing traffic move more smoothly once a new lane opens up.
Traffic and rush hour are often at cross-purposes at the intersection of 41st & Minnesota.
"When they start coming down here at night at 5:00, ahhh! I've seen them pull out of here and stop to try and get in, they they get rear-ended," Patrick Motor Company owner Pat Frankman said.
Traffic backups at the intersection often strand customers trying to pull out of driveways at nearby businesses. Some frustrated drivers have given up taking Minnesota Avenue altogether.
"There's no point in trying to leave this station out onto Minnesota Avenue because you can't get in, so I always go out onto 41st Street," driver Dick Sweetman said.
An extra turn lane should ease some of the growing pains on 41st Street by taking pressure off traffic heading downtown.
"It's going to allow for an increase in capacity for the left turn movements by not sharing it with a through and it's also going to allow us to not split-phase the intersection anymore. We're going to be able to more efficiently time how the green is handed-out to the different movements at the intersection," Principal Traffic Engineer Heath Hoftiezer said.
The city says re-adjusting the timing of the lights here at 41st & Minnesota should improve the traffic flow through the intersection.
"If you're in this turning lane and you're not within that turning lane within 5-seconds, it turns red and then it backs up, just backs up," Frankman said.
Drivers hope the additional lane combined with lights that are more in-sync with traffic flows will unsnarl congestion and their frustrations at 41st and Minnesota.
"Anything they do would be a step in the right direction," Sweetman said.
Putting in that additional turn lane would mean taking out about a dozen feet of sidewalk and paved parking off 41st Street.
You'll see some work being done within the intersection this fall. Crews will be replacing the turn signal on Minnesota Avenue to make the light panels easier for drivers to see in all lanes of traffic.