SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — It should be quite some time before flood waters threaten or reach South Dakota Highway 81 south of Arlington near Twin Lakes.

South Dakota Highway 81 south of Arlington near Twin Lakes opened this week after a major road project was completed.

The stretch from 213th Street to south of 215th has been raised and repaired after flooding that happened in 2019.

The new road has 12-foot wide driving lanes and seven-foot wide shoulders, according to the South Dakota Department of Transportation. Traffic will be protected by a three-foot cable guard rail.

Highway 81 road work in August 2022. DOT photo

“The benefits of this project are that future rain events will not cause the water to over-top the road so that the road will not need to be closed,” the DOT said in a news release.

Wayne Lloyd, project manager for Prairie States Trucking Inc., said the road base is now above a 100-year flood event.

“…this is a permanent grade raise. The water will outlet to natural drainage two feet below the driving surface,” said Mike Borders with the DOT.

Water on Highway 81 in 2019. KELOLAND photo.

This was an $8.3 million project, according to DOT. It follows what was expected to be $4 million in 2019.

Prairie States completed a temporary raise of the road grade in that area.

Lloyd said the contractor was working in water in 2019. The contractor dumped rocks along the road to help build up the road grade.

An Aug. 21, 2019, news release from the DOT said construction had started and the highway had been closed to traffic because of high lake levels overtopping the roadway and the impact of flooding since March. Construction started in August of 2019.

Highway 81 road work in August 2019. DOT photo

On Jan. 30, 2020, the DOT announced the highway had re-opened after being closed for several months because of significant 2019 flooding.

The 2022 project was drier, Lloyd said. Lloyd said 100,000 tons of riprap was hauled to the project from the quarry in Spencer.

Crews worked 65 to 75 hours in mostly five day weeks, Lloyd said.

The project was done before the Sept. 15 completion date.