HARRISBURG, SD -
Traffic tie-ups may be a thing of the past once a new road project starts to roll in Lincoln County. The State Department of Transportation is moving forward on plans to widen 3.3 miles of Minnesota Avenue from two to four lanes between Sioux Falls and Harrisburg.
“What that means is there will be curb and gutter and a raised median through the entire section of road,” project engineer Lucas Johnson said.
The plan to widen SD Highway 115, known to most commuters as South Minnesota Avenue, isn't new. It's been in the works since the 1990s, but what is new is that instead of just talking about it, the conversation has turned to details as construction dates loom.
“I think it's important to inform the public of what's going on around them and good communication with the public is necessary to make these projects successful,” Johnson said.
“Not thrilled that they're taking my land, but I understand that a wider road, more traffic for safer traffic,” landowner Ron Fuerstenberg said.
He and his wife, Kris, are just one of the dots on a map outlining the 3.3 mile project. The Fuerstenbergs already know the shortcomings of living on a busy highway, but they are unsure what will happen when the city and its roads move in.
“From 4 p.m. to about 5:30 p.m. or 6 p.m., it's pretty busy. Traffic gets backed up,” Fuerstenberg said.
Fuerstenberg is happy to see curb and gutter coming with the project instead of just a wide ditch like previous proposals included. He believes that means a lower road surface and a better chance at building something to keep increasing street noise away.
The project will also put stop lights at busy intersections in the future.
“The north segment of the project was done from 85th Street to 69th Street in 2007 to 2008, so yes, there is extensive amount of work that goes into designing and building a project of this nature,” Johnson said.
About 70 people attended the meeting. DOT officials are also planning individual meetings with landowners in March. The multi-million dollar project has not been bid yet; Johnson said that will happen shortly before construction in early 2015.
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