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SD 34 will close as contractors rebuild a key section at Howes

PIERRE — The South Dakota Department of Transportation plans next month to shut a state highway for five weeks to make emergency repairs.

State Highway 34 will close Aug. 11 where it crosses between Ziebach and Meade counties, a state Department of Transportation official said Thursday.

The closure will be along Howes Lake and Lake Buffalo.

Currently there is one lane of traffic moving over two large humps of dirt roadbed there. Stop signs on either side of each hump regulate the flow of vehicles.

The area is approximately three to five miles east of the corner where S.D. 73 splits from S.D. 34 at Howes.

Motorists can use S.D. 34 on either side but they won't be able to get through the work area. There is no simple, short detour around it either.

Water levels rose rapidly in Howes Lake and Lake Buffalo from big rains in June and threatened to wash-out the highway's embankments.

Pipes that carry overflow water from the lakes run under the road to the other side where there are downspouts.

DOT engineers originally planned to replace only the downspouts but found the cross-pipes were leaking under the road too, according to Greg Fuller, DOT operations director.