Preparatory work key part of upcoming US Highway 14 Bypass project in Brookings
BROOKINGS — Fans of road construction, rejoice! There’s major work set for the U.S. Highway 14 Bypass at and near its interchange with Interstate 29 — but it’s still in the planning stages and won’t begin until 2029 at the earliest.
A meeting on Monday night at the Brookings City and County Government Center gave residents and other interested parties the opportunity to learn about and offer further inputs on options for the project. Its overall purpose is to “improve traffic operations and geometric performance of the Exit 133 interchange and U.S. 14B between its intersection with 22nd Avenue and U.S. 14,” per documents at the meeting.
A key part of the effort to upgrade the bypass are projections showing more and more traffic in the years ahead because of continued growth in and around Brookings.
“Growth is a good thing. It’s also a bad thing,” Steve Gramm, a project development representative for the South Dakota Department of Transportation, told The Brookings Register. “One of the bad things is, you get more traffic when you have growth. You have to accommodate for that, and that’s what this is doing.”
Multiple proposals remain in the mix — details on each one can be found at https://www.i29exit133.com — and Monday’s meeting was aimed at finalizing recommendations and drafting reports tied to environmental screening and justification for modifying the Exit 133 interchange. Questions and written comments will be accepted through Dec. 1.
“We’re looking at the future planned growth for the community, based on the city’s comprehensive plan,” Gramm noted. “With that, we see a major influx in the traffic volumes on the bypass coming over the next 25 to 30 years, and so we want to build for that future today.”
A huge part of the project — literally and figuratively — will be what’s done with the bridge that crosses I-29.
“We want to build in the near future to handle that full future,” Gramm said. “The bridge that’s currently over I-29 is due for replacement. Bridges today are being designed for 75 years, and so when we build that bridge, we want to make sure it’s going to be able to handle the traffic capacity 75 years from now. That’s why we’re projecting into the future to see what the traffic will be.”
So, a major redesign of the U.S. Highway 14 Bypass is coming in the years ahead. What it will look like isn’t quite finalized yet, so for folks who don’t enjoy roadwork, savor the respite.
— Contact Mondell Keck at [email protected].