S.D. transportation plan for coming construction season gets final approval

Capitol News Bureau
KELO Pierre map locator South Dakota

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The state government panel that oversees the condition of most of South Dakota’s highways put its stamp on a 2021 construction plan Thursday.

The Transportation Commission also approved the 2021 public transit program and the urban plans for Sioux Falls, Rapid City and Sioux City, Iowa.

The 573-page document weighs about 2 pounds, according to Mike Behm. He is director of planning and engineering for the South Dakota Department of Transportation.

The overall plan for programmed projects reflects about $345 million of federal funds and about $432 million of state and local matching funds.

Funding includes $568 million for highways, $90 million for bridges, $85 million for safety work, $18 million for emergency relief and more than $14 million for other needs.

In past years, department staff held meetings for the public in Aberdeen, Rapid City, Pierre and either Mitchell or Sioux Falls. This year, because of COVID-19, the department instead held conference calls and also took online comments.

Attendance levels were comparable to recent years for three communities, with 33 in Aberdeen, 36 in Mitchell and 35 in Pierre.

Rapid City had 30 attendees, less than half of the 81 in 2019 and less than the 50 in 2018 or 49 in 2017, but about the same as the 28 in 2016.

Behm said the plan is to return if possible to in-person meetings next summer.

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