2019 Road Construction Recap
2019 Road Construction Recap: Projects Improve Traffic Flow and Street Conditions
Sioux Falls, South Dakota: Despite record amounts of rain in 2019, the City of Sioux Falls still worked on dozens of road construction projects, many of those focused on bettering traffic flow and safety as the city continues to grow.
The City improved access to major corridors by updating rural roads to urban streets on 69th Street and Ellis Road. Other initiatives have improved quality of life in neighborhoods, and a multi-year face-lift to Main Avenue in downtown was also completed. Most notable because of its scope was the reconstruction of the I-229 interchange at 26th Street, which kicked off in 2019.
If your commute or travels in 2019 didn’t take you through a major road project in Sioux Falls, you probably drove on roads that Public Works improved through street preservation, rehabilitation or reconstruction during the year.
“Our street system is the largest asset for the City of Sioux Falls. We continue to focus on projects that ensure a reliable transportation network for residents and businesses,” said Mark Cotter, Director of Public Works. “Even with record amounts of rain, we still had a great year and improved more than 700 blocks of streets for Sioux Falls.”
The orange construction cones are an indication of how the City is working to make residents’ commutes better. Public Works focuses on street maintenance activities to extend the life of the streets in the most cost-effective way and to maintain a reliable transportation system. Key street maintenance activities include surface treatment (applying an asphalt layer on top of the existing surface to extend the street’s life), asphalt overlay (removing and replacing the top two inches of asphalt surface), and neighborhood street reconstruction (full reconstruction of the street that includes utilities).
The City also invested $1.9 million of the 2018 budget surplus dollars in the roadway network. Those dollars went toward improvements to Minnesota Avenue and the design of Marion Road, which is planned for expansion in 2020 to serve Jefferson High School.
Here’s an overview of key projects that were started or primarily completed in 2019:
26th Street and I-229 Interchange: This project is distinctive for the City of Sioux Falls because of its size, and because it involves the modification of an interchange and the construction of a bridge over the Big Sioux River and BNSF Railway. The railway overpass will significantly improve commute times for eastside drivers. It will improve the intersection of 26th Street and Southeastern Avenue and expand 26th Street to six lanes. The goal is to have all lanes of traffic open by November 2020.
2020 Plans for 26th Street and I-229 Interchange
- Complete the south side of the Big Sioux River and BNSF Railway Bridge and move traffic to the south side of 26th Street
- Reconstruct the north lanes of 26th Street
Main Avenue Road Diet and Streetscaping: Five years ago, Public Works conducted a pilot project in downtown Sioux Falls which changed the three-lane one-way on Main Avenue to a two-lane one-way to enhance safety by reducing traffic speed and increasing pedestrian safety. Citizen response was positive, and plans were implemented to make it permanent. The redesign has added pedestrian-friendly bump-outs, diagonal parking and landscaping, primarily focused on the east side of the street. The project was completed in summer 2019.
Terry Avenue and 43rd Street Drainage Improvements: This project added an underground storm water detention facility in Marion Park to improve drainage and mitigate flooding for surrounding neighborhoods, along with providing street and other infrastructure improvements to 20 blocks. The City has completed an underground storm water detention facility only once before, more than a decade ago at Edison Middle School. The facility added 12 rows of 11.5-foot-diameter circular steel pipes, with a total storage volume of 5.6 million gallons. The facility improved drainage by providing a slow release of water through a single 30-inch pipe after the collection. Marion Park improvements also included new playground equipment and updated signage and landscaping.
Notable Arterial Street Expansion Projects
Ellis Road from 12th Street to 41st Street: This project expanded a two-lane road into a four-lane street with a median, street lights, traffic signals and a shared use path on each side of Ellis Road for pedestrians and cyclists.
69th Street from Tallgrass Avenue to Louise Avenue: Development in southwest Sioux Falls, Tea and Harrisburg continues to increase traffic on this section of 69th Street. In April 2019, Public Works began updating this stretch of road, expanding a rural two-lane road to a four-lane urban road, which is improving traffic flow for this growing area.
2020 Plans for 69th Street
- Traffic signals at the intersections of 69th Street and Mogen Avenue and 69th Street and Beal Avenue
- Intermediate lane closures to allow for landscaping work in the new median, a mill and overlay of 69th Street between Louise and Connie Avenues, and other miscellaneous construction
2019 also saw an improved way for the public to conveniently notify city crews of roadway issues such as potholes or streetlight outages. With the City of Sioux Falls App, you can easily notify the City of any nonemergency service request 24 hours a day, 7 days a week directly from your mobile phone. It's free to download on your iOS or Android device. Please visit https://www.siouxfalls.org/report to download the app.