SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — It may not look like it to all drivers, but major road construction projects are making progress as fall approaches.
In the middle of July, the city of Sioux Falls provided updates on construction happening at Cliff Avenue (between 56th Street and Tomar Road), Minnesota Avenue (between 2nd Street and Russell Street), Arrowhead Parkway (from Veterans Parkway to 26th Street), west 41st Street intersection with Marion Road, and east 41st Street intersection Sycamore Avenue.
Cliff Avenue has been closed to all traffic since May 29 and city public works engineer John Osman said the tentative plan is to start paving the new street next week on Monday. The plan is to have at least two lanes open (one northbound and one southbound) for traffic before school starts August 25.
“We are on schedule to open before school,” Osman said in an email to KELOLAND News. “It has been a good project with a good team.”
Center lane paving work will start the following week, Osman said.
Ross Kuchta, a project engineer with Stockwell Engineers, said the start of paving depends on how the rainy forecast for the weekend goes. Kuchta said he expects traffic to be busy once Cliff Avenue opens for traffic.
“It may look like a slow, painful progress from the outside, but from our perspective, things have gone well,” Kuchta said. “We’ve had a good season.”
Standing in front of crews laying out gravel and setting forms in preparation for paving, Kuchta said all the utility work has finished along with the installation of a new water main and storm sewer.
Before paving starts, Kuchta said there’s been a lot of grading work to fill in the embankment on the west side of the road. A house the city bought had to be demolished to help widen the road.
Kuchta said crews used a newer development called cement stabilization to help fill the embankment.
“You’re taking the existing subgrade, the dirt, and you’re incorporating cement powder that gets mixed up, watered and compacted,” Kuchta said. “What you end up with is a really hard layer of dirt that has a lot of compressive strength.”
While part of the road will start to open soon, Kuchta said the area will remain an active construction zone well into the fall. The project has a November 2022 completion date, but there’ll be a lot of work, restoring driveways, sidewalks, topsoil and reseeding grass.
“Just keep in mind that as you’re still driving through here, it’s still a construction zone,” Kuchta said.
Speed humps installed on Tomar Road
The closure of Cliff Avenue between 56th Street and Tomar Road has led to increased traffic on Tomar Road from 57th Street to Cliff Avenue.
In response, the city installed speed humps to keep drivers from speeding on the neighborhood road.
Heath Hoftiezer, the city’s traffic operations engineer, said Cliff Avenue typically saw 15,000 to 20,000 vehicles a day from 49th Street to 57th Street. On Tomar Road, the city started counting an extra 2,000 vehicles a day and that led to testing the effectiveness of the speed humps.
Hoftiezer said after they were installed, the city noticed a drop of about 500 cars a day on Tomar Road, which he noted isn’t an official detour for the project.
“When you put something in like that it’s deterring speeding on the road,” Hoftiezer said. “Then also potentially encouraging people to consider another route.”
The speed hump installation had led to an increase in traffic on Glenview Road, which is east of Cliff Avenue, Hoftiezer said.
“At this point, we’re looking forward and it’s about two weeks when Cliff is going to be opening up with a couple of other lanes in each direction,” Hoftiezer said. “It’s something I think everyone’s looking forward to.”
Speed humps are different from speed bumps, which are more for parking lot settings. Hoftiezer said speed humps are tougher for motorcycles and similar smaller vehicles.
Hoftiezer admitted the city typically doesn’t do a lot with speed humps because it hinders snow removal.
“These speed humps are temporary, the intention is that they’re going to come back off at some point and time this fall,” Hoftiezer said.
Arrowhead Parkway (from Veterans Parkway to 26th Street)
In eastern Sioux Falls, work to widen Arrowhead Parkway is underway along with creating a new intersection with Six Mile Road. Six Mile Road has been closed north and south of Arrowhead Parkway but is also looking to reopen by the start of school.
The project is also looking to finish in November.
West 41st Street intersection with Marion Road
Traffic is driving on new lanes on the south side of 41st Street between Marion Road and Meadow Avenue. Marion Road between 41st Street and 39th Street is expected to reopen at the end of August.
You can find more updates on the 41st diverging diamond interchange website.
East 41st Street intersection Sycamore Avenue
Work at 41st Street and Sycamore Avenue continues in quadrants.
Project engineer Chad Stensland said there was a lot of extra underground and private utility work in the first phase. He said they don’t expect that same work in the other quadrants.
Sycamore Avenue south of 41st Street has been resurfaced to 57th Street. Sycamore Avenue north to 33rd Street will soon be resurfaced.
“We’re getting a lot of things done,” Stensland said. “The intersection doesn’t give us the best impression with how much work is getting done.”