SDDOT gives more details on advisory signs near reservations’ traffic checkpoints

Capitol News Bureau

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The state Department of Transportation provided more information Thursday about signage posted in areas of western South Dakota, where the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and the Oglala Sioux Tribe are operating highway checkpoints to control who travels onto their reservations.

The tribal governments are trying to limit the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 into the local populations who live within the Pine Ridge and Cheyenne River reservations.

There is a checkpoint located on the Oglala Lakota County line for eastbound traffic on US 18 entering from Fall River County, according to Kristi Sandal, the department’s information officer. She said the Oglala Sioux Tribe is operating a variable message sign at that location. It says, “ROADS CLOSED.” 

The state department doesn’t have a variable message sign on that route, she said, but has a static sign at the junction of US 18 and US 385 that reads: “Pine Ridge Reservation Thru Traffic Only.”

The state department has a variable message sign on US 18 at the Oglala Lakota and Fall River County line near the tribe’s Prairie Wind Casino, and a variable message sign on SD 407 just north of the Nebraska border, according to Sandal. They read “ROAD CLOSED,” she said, although through-traffic is being allowed.

There are also message boards regarding the Pine Ridge reservation checkpoints:

In Kadoka at the junction of SD 73 and SD 248. for travelers southbound on SD 73.

At the junction of SD 44 and SD 73 that is 20 miles south of Kadoka, for travelers westbound on SD 44.

In Martin, on US 18, approximately 500 feet west of the traffic signal, for travelers westbound on US 18.

Those signs say, “Pine Ridge Reservation, Local traffic only.”

For the Cheyenne River reservation, there is a variable message sign at the junction of US 212 and US 83 west of Gettysburg, according to Sandal. It reads, “COVID CHKPOINT AHEAD / CONSIDER ALT ROUTE.”

There are also message boards at the junction of SD 73 and SD 34; and at the junction of SD 73 and US 212, according to Sandal.

The state department also has a variable message board at the junction of SD 73 and SD 34, near the community of Billsburg in Haakon County, she said. But the sign has been turned off for several weeks, according to Sandal, because the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe isn’t stopping vehicles on SD 34.

She said the checkpoint has been operating on Takini Road, near its junction with SD 34.

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