User uShare Login | Register

Along with posting photos, videos, and stories, your uShare account lets you post Classified Ads, recipes on What's For Dinner, and Announcements.

58° View Weather Current Conditions Sioux Falls Change Location
Set Weather Options



Share your Photos, Videos, and Stories on uShare! Click here to get started.

#3 Brookings @ #2 Mitchell at 7 p.m. | Sioux Falls News & Weather, South Dakota News & Weather, Minnesota and Iowa News

[0] My Saved Articles
Find local businesses
on the KELO Pages!


A Congested Corridor

August 3, 2010, 10:00 PM by Jon Wilson

A Congested Corridor
SIOUX FALLS, SD - New stores, new restaurants and a new theater are drawing more people and more traffic to eastern Sioux Falls. But until the new Highway 100 Loop is complete, an older East side thoroughfare is quickly becoming more congested.

Nearly 50 years ago, the I-229 loop was built on the eastern edge of Sioux Falls. Back then, the two-lane freeway was designed to carry up to 2,000 vehicles a day. Today, the 229 corridor carries anywhere from 35 to 40 thousand cars and trucks every day.

The Benson Road Exit in northern Sioux Falls is one of two new exits that were recently added to 229 to better handle all of that extra traffic, and now the 229 interchanges are raising a few concerns again. Exits along 229 are often clogged during the morning and afternoon rush hour, as more industrial, commercial and residential development happens on the city's east side attracts more traffic.

"It's not only an interstate issue, its a local road issue too. Those crossroads, if they're backing-up, they're causing a backup along the interstate so theres some coordination that goes on with the city," Craig Smith with the South Dakota Department of Transportation said. 

Another turning lane was recently added to the Benson Road interchange to help keep traffic moving along instead backing up onto the freeway. The state's DOT is also looking at possible changes for the interchanges at 26th Street and Minnesota Avenue. Another option is to add another lane.

"If we did need to widen it in the future the widening would have to go in the middle, into the median and you would end up with some sort of barrier between traffic," Smith said.  

But one thing that won't change anytime soon is the 65 mile an hour speed limit, which some say is the cause of many of the accidents along 229.

"I know 10 years ago it used to be nothing to get cars in their 80s and 90s," Lt. Alan Welsh of the South Dakota Highway Patrol said. 

But when traffic numbers increase, speeds normally decrease, especially during rush hour.

"I think 65 is adequate, obviously it would be tough to change the speed limit during certain times of the day. Sometimes you make it too slow and that just creates more problems," Welsh said.

And in many cases, speed has nothing to do with crashes along this 12 mile corridor.

"Whenever there are conditions, whether it be a drunk driver or weather...or snowstorm related, there's crashes because of a lot of traffic," Welsh said. 

More traffic maybe, but speed-related accidents remain steady.

"Looking at the crash reports there really hasn't been a big increase. Like in 1999, it's not real different from 2009 as far as crashes," Welsh said. 

And Welsh thinks he knows why.

"Two reasons: one, I'm going to take some of the credit and say it's enforcement, but also the other reason is because it's primarily local drivers that are aware of the traffic patterns," Welsh said.

But even local drivers struggle with icy roads, which triggers many of the fender-benders along 229. And in a deadly head-on crash earlier this month, a suspected drunk driver drove the wrong way on 229 and ran into another car killing the driver.

Troopers hope to reduce the number of drunk driving accidents by conducting more compliance checks along I-229 in the future, and become more visible during the day, with the hope of reducing the risk on what used to be a lonely and quiet commute along I-229.

In early 2000 the DOT added auxiliary lanes near some of the 229 interchanges throughout Sioux Falls. The only project on the books right now is to resurface the interstate between Louise Avenue and I-29 in 2013.

Previous Story

Next Story



You may also like

Helicopter Crash Near Parkston Under Investigation

10/5/2015 11:25 AM

Emergency crews responded to a helicopter crash near Parkston Monday morning. 

Full Story
Bosworth's Husband Facing Felony Charges

10/5/2015 10:50 AM

The husband of former GOP U.S. Senate Candidate Annette Bosworth now faces felony charges.

Full Story
Fishermen Find Body Of Sioux Falls Man In Oakwood Lake

10/6/2015 12:30 PM

The Brookings County Sheriff's Office says the body of 73-year-old Martin Jepson was found floating in the lake around 2:30 p.m. Monday.

Full Story
Huron Man Killed In Motorcycle-Semi Collision

10/3/2015 1:51 PM

A Huron man was killed in a crash on US Highway 14 Friday afternoon.

Full Story
Mitchell Superintendent Defends 'Second Job'

10/5/2015 10:02 PM

Our KELOLAND News investigation revealed some of the problems surrounding the multimillion dollar GEAR UP grant that caused the state to end its partn...

Full Story | Watch