Brookings gets $18.7M grant for I-29/20th St. S. interchange


BROOKINGS – The United States Department of Transportation has awarded the City of Brookings $18.7 million in critical infrastructure funding under the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) program, according to a press release from South Dakota’s congressional delegation.

Mayor Keith Corbett said the money will make it possible for the city to build an interchange over Interstate 29 at 20th Street South.

“This is a huge game-changer for Brookings. As we continue to grow – all these wonderful things happening in our community – this is just gonna help Brookings. It will change the whole landscape of Brookings,” Corbett said.

The 20th Street South interchange would allow for an additional arterial road to provide proper traffic flow between the residential and commercial sectors of the city, taking pressure off of the Sixth Street interchange, which has become increasingly congested, according to the press release. It will also provide more convenient access to I-29 for southern Brookings as the area continues to grow.

Having the funds will open up 200 more acres for development, Corbett added.

He’s been told the process for the interchange is at least two to three years long. The city will have to get an engineer’s design, federal paperwork and permits, wetlands research, and other items before the interchange can be built.

“The DOT owns the right-of-way, so that helps a lot right there,” Corbett said.

There were a lot of people working behind the scenes to make this happen, he said.

“We’re very appreciative of our members of Congress that worked so hard on this to help us,” Corbett said.

“I just appreciate the group that worked on this … working with our members of Congress,” he said.

“And the people of Brookings, because we had to have a public/private support on this,” Corbett said. “The people of Brookings came forward, a lot of them financially and others reaching out to our members of Congress to ensure that this happened.”

The council applied for the BUILD grant for a second time in July. The grant generally funds 80% of a project and desires a local match. 

“The total updated project cost is now expected at $23 million, of which 20% amounts to $4.6 million,” according to a city council agenda attachment from late June. “A local match will consist of a commitment of $700,000 by private donors, $2 million by Brookings County and the City’s pledge. The City is asked to commit $2 million toward this project. The total $23 million project does encompass the traffic lights and 20th Street South improvements from 22nd Avenue to the proposed interchange. Once built, the state would maintain the interchange,” the attachment said.

“The award of the BUILD grant for the I-29 Interchange project is an exciting investment in the Brookings community and region,” City Manager Paul Briseno said. 

“Brookings is a community that challenges all to bring their dreams; this announcement is an achievement of a dream. The City would like to thank all that assisted with this endeavor including all of the community/regional support and specifically representatives Thune, Rounds and Johnson,” Briseno said.

Sens. John Thune and Mike Rounds and Rep. Dusty Johnson applauded the USDOT’s decision and sent out the joint press release to announce it Wednesday afternoon. The announcement follows requests from the delegation to DOT Secretary Elaine Chao for the project’s funding.

“With the help of the infrastructure funding awarded by DOT, the City of Brookings will be able to move forward with this important project, which will relieve congestion, improve safety, and spur economic growth,” Thune said. 

“I want to congratulate the Brookings community and its leaders for advocating for this funding and I’d like to thank Secretary Chao for recognizing how important projects like these are to South Dakota communities,” Thune added.

“Thanks to Secretary Chao for her commitment to investing in infrastructure projects in South Dakota,” Rounds said. “This BUILD grant will help relieve congestion along an important intersection (Sixth Street and 22nd Avenue) in the city of Brookings, allowing for easier traffic flow in the area.

“We’re grateful for all state and local officials who work to make sure our roads and highways are maintained so we can get where we need to go safely and efficiently,” Rounds added.

“Brookings and the surrounding communities have seen tremendous growth over the last several years,” Johnson said. “This BUILD grant will allow Brookings to continue on a path of economic success and foster opportunity for the I-29 corridor.”

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