Burr Street in state road plan
Mitchell's most dangerous intersection could be part of a 1.4-mile, $8.35 million reconstruction of South Burr Street in 2016, state highway officials said recently.
A December 2011 review of state highway accident statistics found the Burr Street/Norway Avenue intersection to be Mitchell's most accident-prone. Between 2006 and 2011, the traffic hotspot was the site of 12 injury accidents and 37 non-injury accidents.
The state Department of Transportation recognizes the need for improvements on Burr.
"It's really needed," Mitchell Area Engineer Tammy Williams said in a phone interview. "Safety is the whole reason for the project. There have been many accidents on that strip over the years."
The reconstruction will cover Burr Street from its intersection with Havens Avenue south to the end of the divided Highway 37 near Walmart.
The project will be paid for with federal highway dollars, Willams said.
That corridor and other area road projects were reviewed in Mitchell last week by state Department of Transportation officials during a presentation of the 2014-2017 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). The Burr Street rebuild was one of nearly $19 million in Davison County road projects reviewed.
"There is no design yet for the Burr Street corridor," said Williams, but the design planning process will begin soon.
"We're currently in the process of setting up meetings with people who own or lease property along Burr."
Those meetings will start the first week of August, she said, but no firm time or place has been set. At the earliest, a preliminary corridor plan will be available later this fall.
The design will consider the service roads that parallel both sides of Burr. The complicated layout of some of the service roads' intersections with Burr have long been a source of complaint from drivers.
At Norway Avenue, for instance, eastbound drivers waiting to turn north or south onto Burr Street must be aware of traffic at the intersection, as well as drivers feeding into the intersection from north/south service roads on either side of Burr Street. Both service roads are controlled by stop signs.
"It's not the service roads themselves that pose a problem," Williams said, "but the fact that they are so close to the intersections."
She declined to speculate on a solution, stating those issues will be considered as part of the design process.
Project bids could be let as early as October 2015, for spring 2016 construction, Williams said, or as late as September 2016 for the 2017 road building season.
"When construction will begin all depends on how long it takes to develop a final design," she said.
Whatever plan emerges, the redesigned corridor will have sidewalks to make it more pedestrian friendly, Williams said.
Currently, there are no provisions for pedestrians on Burr Street, said Williams, and the width of the four-lane street -- which is divided by a deep grass median and bracketed by two-lane service roads on either side -- makes it particularly difficult for pedestrians to cross.
The width of Burr Street means it will be a large project, Williams said, but it also offers a large canvas for a workable design.
"That also means there's so much right-of-way that there's not much we'll need to acquire," Williams said.
Some major area projects in the 2014-2017 STIP plan include the following.
--Bon Homme/Charles Mix: 2014, pave 11.3 miles of Highway 50, from county line to Highway 37, $3.6 million.
--Bon Homme: 2014, pave 12.3 miles of Highway 37, $3.46 million
--Buffalo County: 2017, pave 8.5 miles of Highway 34, $2.71 million.
--Hutchinson/Turner: 2017, pave 17 miles of U.S. 18 From U.S. 81 to Highway 19, $17.09 million.
--Yankton: 2016, pave 8.8 miles of Highway 50, from Yankton to Gayville, $9 million.
--Davison/Sanborn: 2014, pave 24.5 miles of Highways 37 and 34, $6.83 million.
--Gregory: 2014, pave 15.8 miles of Highway 251, $5.06 million, and 11 miles of Highway 47, $3.32 million.
The complete list of all STIP projects can be found online at sddot.com.