One of Mitchell’s busiest intersections that has sparked safety concerns is being addressed by the South Dakota Department of Transportation.
It was confirmed Wednesday evening that a traffic signal system will be installed on the busy Highway 37 Bypass and north Minnesota Street intersection by 2020.
That’s according to Craig Smith, Department of Transportation project engineer, who provided updates on the Mitchell region road construction projects during Wednesday’s DOT 2020-2023 State Transportation Improvement Program public meeting held at the Highland Conference Center.
It was former Chief of Public Safety Lyndon Overweg who voiced his concerns regarding the busy Mitchell intersection during the comment portion of the DOT STIP meeting in Sioux Falls last summer.
“We’ve worked with our traffic engineers and identified the need for it, and we are moving forward with the traffic signal project,” Smith said.
According to the SD DOT, the traffic signal project will cost $387,000. Smith used Overweg’s vocalizing efforts as an example of the importance for citizens to communicate their roadway and street concerns to the State DOT at the annual STIP meetings, which rotate from Sioux Falls to Mitchell every other year.
“A big part of this meeting is getting feedback on the comments made by the public, and that helps us prioritize the needs to look at those areas,” Smith said.
Some of the concerns expressed during last year’s STIP meeting were the lack of drivers understanding there is a yield sign and crosswalk at the widely traveled intersection that sits near Mitchell Christian and Mitchell Middle School. According to the South Dakota DOT website, average daily traffic counts at the bypass intersection are roughly 4,500 to 5,000 vehicles and trucks.
The unconventional curved intersection features the only crosswalk on the Highway 37 Bypass, making it unique to other intersections in the city of Mitchell, which played a factor in the DOT’s decision to approve the traffic signal installation.
In addition, Smith said a large portion of North Main Street, beginning near the intersection of Highway 37 Bypass and stretching north to National Guard Road near the Mitchell Airport, will undergo complete reconstruction in 2024. The $17.8 million project will include road grading, curb and gutter improvements, surfacing, replacing of the streets and storm and sewer upgrades.
“We’ve been working with the city of Mitchell on this project,” Smith said. “It does show it’s scheduled for 2023, but the construction will actually be in 2024.”