June 24, 2019

Safety upgrades are SD-34 improvement - Daily Leader Extra : Editorials

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Safety upgrades are SD-34 improvement

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Posted: Tuesday, June 11, 2019 4:32 pm

Several intersections on SD-34 east of Madison are being upgraded to improve safety.

Motorists have seen grading and removing soil from the shoulders at intersections going to Chester, Wentworth and Lake Madison. Flag persons occasionally limit traffic to one-lane, causing delays.

Kirk Henderson of the South Dakota Department of Transportation told the Daily Leader that five intersections on SD-34 will be reconstructed to add a left turn lane. The intersections include 461st, 462nd, 463rd and 464th Avenues, as well as 437th Avenue in Miner County just west of Jake's Corner. The roadway will be widened and the full width of the intersection will receive a two-inch asphalt layer and restriping.

Contractors will also extend the turn lanes at the Dakota Ethanol plant to improve safety, and a turn lane will be added on SD-19 that leads to the Woodland Marina.

Local leaders have worked for many years to widen a section of SD-34 from two lanes to four lanes. SD-34 is already a four-lane divided highway from the intersection of South Washington Avenue and SE Tenth Street in Madison to a point near 458th Avenue, a stretch of nearly four miles.

The remaining distance proposed by local leaders would be about 14 miles. Part of that distance already has right-of-way acquired.

But there is nothing in South Dakota's five-year Surface Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP) about adding two lanes to SD-34. So we'll need to settle for these substantial improvements for the time being.

The first intersection improvement was near the Sioux Valley Energy headquarters at the intersection of 471st Ave. a couple of years ago, adding turn lanes. The project also closed access to Sioux Valley's property from the highway, reducing the traffic that would turn there.

We're certain that these highway projects will improve safety. Yes, we'd prefer four lanes all the way