Project leaders for the railroad switchyard relocation project have said they are focusing on the next steps.
We have heard a lot about the proposed sites and much public opinion. Here is a quick look at the current sites, where they are and what the pros and cons are of each location.
Project leaders have outlined the need to move the switchyard from downtown Sioux Falls. Moving it would eliminate safety hazards, make room for $300 million of growth and development and alleviate traffic problems.
One proposed site is east of Timberline Avenue and falls within Brandon City Limits. People who live in Brandon and city officials have voiced concerns about this site because it could kill economic growth. City administrator Bryan Read says this site has been slated for more businesses and houses. Sioux Falls City Council members have said they will oppose this site.
Another site is west of Timberline Avenue near Rice Street. Mark Cotter, director of Sioux Falls Public Works, said this is not in Brandon's growth area, but rather in Sioux Falls' growth area. Moving it there would not affect Timberline Avenue. Still, people from Brandon who attended a recent public meeting spoke out on this site because a number of them work in Sioux Falls. They see this potential switchyard creating big time traffic issues and delays.
In order for the switchyard relocation to work, a siding location will have to be built. A siding location is a smaller secondary site to route the train to the new switchyard. One potential site is a Y-bridge in Falls Park. The bridge would be a direct link to the new switchyard, but could be unlikely because of federal environmental guidelines.
Another option is for southeast Sioux Falls between two bridges on 57th Street and 69th Street. At this site, the engine would move from one end of the train to the other, re-directing it to the new switchyard. Here, it would not disturb Sioux Falls' most famous park. However, it would be just feet away from people's backyards and add another track to this neighborhood. People who live there are worried about safety and diminishing property values.
City officials have not chosen any site, and the process continues to evolve.