It could be easier for people to get off and on Interstate 29 in southern Sioux Falls in the future. 

A potential new interstate interchange has passed a significant step. 

When Avera decided to build its second Sioux Falls campus near 69th and Louise in western Sioux Falls, it was betting on easy access to the interstate. 

“60 percent of the people who call upon us for services in Sioux Falls are from outside the MSA, so they’re traveling to us,” Executive Vice President at Avera Health Richard Molseed said.

Because of that, Avera and many area businesses and developers have been watching this–the potential of a new interstate interchange at 85th Street. 

“30 percent of our employees in Sioux Falls live outside of the metro area, so transportation is very important to them as well,”  Molseed said.

The possible new interchange has hit a major milestone. The Federal Highway Administration has approved an interchange justification report. 

“That means that the engineering and the operations work. Now we’ll do the environmental side of it,” Public Works Director Mark Cotter said.

While there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done, Cotter is confident that this road will sometime connect to the interstate.

“We really need more options to balance the traffic and support the growth,” Cotter said.

Cotter is also excited because the new interchange would be unique to Sioux Falls. A diverging diamond interchange requires traffic on the freeway overpass to briefly drive on the opposite side of the road. 

“It makes it safer. They’re higher capacity, so they move traffic more efficiently, which ultimately means there’s less delay for the drivers,” Cotter said.

Less delays that could mean more business for this area of the city.

“Ease of access is really important,” Molseed said.

Cotter says the environmental study will take around 18 months. 

After that, construction could start in 2021. 

You can take a closer look at the project here.