SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — As you travel on Cliff Avenue, who is traveling with you?
A lot more people than four years ago, especially if you are driving to and from southern Sioux Falls.
Average daily traffic counts from the city of Sioux Falls show that traffic increased by at least 38,000 vehicles from 2016 through 2020 on a stretch of Cliff Avenue from the intersection with 33rd Street south to the southern city limits.
Steve Gramm, a planning squad leader for the South Dakota Department of Transportation, grew up in Sioux Falls.
He’s aware of how traffic has changed near Interstate 229’s Cliff Avenue exit.
“I remember when Cliff Avenue was two lanes,” Gramm said.
Getting around the I-229 Cliff Avenue exit may be a bit tougher than when Gramm was a kid.
Cliff Avenue is still a road used to reach downtown, a main feeder to I-229 and Lincoln High School sits at the exit.
But the traffic changes go beyond the I-229 Cliff Avenue exit.
“When I was a kid, 57th Street was a gravel road,” Gramm said.
Now, a section of Cliff Avenue from Tomar Road to 57th Street had 15,760 average daily traffic (ADT) in 2020, according to the city of Sioux Falls’ traffic engineering department.
The traffic count at Tomar Road to 49th Street on Cliff was about 14,000 in 1998, according to traffic engineering. The count was rounded to 27,700 in 2020 in the same area.
Tomar Road and 57th Street had a count of 9,700 in 2000 and 16,500 in 2020, according to city data.
Growth in southern Sioux Falls and northern Lincoln County including Harrisburg is creating more traffic, officials said.
ADTs have been in double-digit thousand counts from Tomar Road to 69th Street from 2016 to 2020.
Back in 2005, the University of Sioux Falls’ Bob Young Field opened at the intersection of 69th and Cliff Avenue. The city’s traffic count from 69th to 77th in 2005 was 5,000 ADTs. Apartment and other housing developments have surrounded the field.
The ADT in 2010 was 6,800.
The stretch from 69th to 77th streets hit double-digit thousands in 2018.
Cliff Avenue is getting some attention from the city of Sioux Falls and the S.D. DOT.
The city plans to widen Cliff Avenue from 49th Street to 56th Street next year as part of a $4 million project.
S.D. DOT has a federally approved $40 million plan for the I-229 Cliff Avenue exit, which includes changes to nearby 41st Street. The project is slated to start in 2025.
The change in traffic flows on Cliff Avenue in sections that include 57th and 69th Streets are likely indicators of how traffic flow will change as development continues on Cliff through the 77th Street intersection and 85th Street intersection.
The ADT for the Cliff Avenue section of 85th Street to the city limits was 4,800 vehicles in 2006. The number increased to 5,700 in 2015. The count has increased since 2015.
Paws Pet Resort at 7121 S. Cliff Ave. is one of the most recent additions to Cliff Avenue. It is not far from the intersection with 85th Street. Just west of Cliff Avenue, development is happening at Minnesota Avenue and 85th Street including Dollar Tree and Walmart.