If you see a road construction project in Sioux Falls and wonder why no one is working on it, you might just be there at the wrong time of day. A couple of projects in town are being done at night, including work on Louise Avenue and Interstate 229.
It may be during the darkest hours of the day, but it's much safer for construction crews and drivers to get work done at night. It's also something we could see more of in Sioux Falls.
"We know there's a lot of traffic out there," Sioux Falls area Department of Transportation Engineer Travis Dressen said.
And it really all comes down to convenience for those behind the wheel.
"The point of these projects, having this night work, is to minimize the disruptions to the traveling public, specifically during the peak hours during the morning and the afternoon," Dressen said.
Dressen says night work lets them keep more lanes of traffic open during the day. Many of the contracts are set up so officials can't restrict traffic during peak hours, generally from 6 a.m until 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. until 7 p.m.
"So really that only allows the contractor a very short window during the daytime hours to get that work done before the peak hours begin. They find that this type of contract encourages night work and they have a longer period to get that work done over the evening hours," Dressen said.
While it's a sight you don't see very often in South Dakota, it's very popular in many large metro areas. Dressen says it's something drivers will also most likely see more often in the future.
"I think the trend is there. You know again, with these larger traffic volumes, being able to keep those lanes open during the rush hour certainly lets traffic move. It's certainly a safer environment. So I think anytime we can have the work go on at night, it's something we're going to be interested in doing," Dressen said.
Night work also keeps construction crews from working during the hottest hours of the day.