Second Phase of Hwy 115 Project Complete – I29 Bridge Opens at Dell Rapids

DellRapidsI29BridgeThe second phase of the $18.8 million Hwy 115 project in and around Dell Rapids has completed.  On Wednesday, November 29th, the Interstate 29 interchange at Exit 98 to Dell Rapids reopened to traffic.

Coinciding with the opening of the interstate interchange, the north bridge on Hwy 115 heading south of Dell Rapids will be closed starting Monday, December 4th, resulting in a detour through Dell Rapids.  The detour will be the same detour used Hwy115DetourRoutewhen the south bridge on Hwy 115 was being replaced.  When driving north into Dell Rapids, motorists will be routed off of Hwy 115 to Centennial Dr., to Garfield Ave., and then to 4th St. back west to Hwy 115.  Trucks will be directed off of 4th St. at Orleans Ave. and will need to use 3rd St. to get back to Hwy 115.

“The DOT has reassured me that if they are shutting this bridge down, that the contractor is planning on working as expediently as they can through the winter.  They’re not going to show up, tear the bridge down, and take off site for six weeks, a month or even two weeks.  They plan on working through the winter.  They want to get as much work done when the water level is where it is now so that they can Hwy115NorthBridgebe ready to go in the spring.  It’s also their hope it pushes up their re-opening schedule on the bridge as well,” said City Administrator Justin Weiland during the regular meeting of the Dell Rapids City Council on Monday, November 20th.

The final phase of the project is the replacement of the north bridge on Hwy 115 and road replacement north to the four-way stop.  The highway from the four-way stop west to the new interstate interchange will also be replaced.  According to the South Dakota Department of Transportation, the overall completion date for the project is June 21, 2019.

The first phase of the project, the replacement of the south bridge on Hwy 115 and highway replacement to 248th St., began in April of 2016.  That section was completed in a little over a year with the bridge and new road opening May of this year.

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Future Road Construction Could Create Problems for Dell Rapids

City Administrator Justin Weiland presented to the Dell Rapids City Council during their regular meeting on Monday, February 2nd, that future road construction projects in Dell Rapids could have impact on Dell Rapids streets.  Road construction will begin on Hwy 115 between Quarry Road and 248th St (Colton turnoff) in 2016.  However, in 2017, if plans are not changed, streets in Dell Rapids could be heavily traveled.

Current South Dakota Department of Transportation (DOT) 2017 plans include continuing Hwy 115 construction from Quarry Rd north to the 4-way stop intersection.  The intersection and bridge will be torn up for construction.  Motorists will be able to travel west towards Interstate 29 through the construction zone with the aid of pilot cars.  However, SDDOT is also considering adding the Dell Rapids I-29 interchange to the current 2017 construction plan.  The south-bound on-ramp would not be accessible in this plan, meaning that even though motorists could head west from Dell Rapids during the Hwy 115 construction, they could not get onto I-29 to head south to Sioux Falls.  With the interstate exchange potentially not being accessible and with the portion of Hwy 115 already planned for construction between the 4-way stop and Quarry Road, the only way to get to Sioux Falls for Dell Rapids residents would be to travel on Garfield Ave to Centennial, accessing Hwy 115 at that point.

Weiland mentioned that the SDDOT added the interstate exchange plans to the 2017 plans since Hwy 115 will already be under construction.  Weiland also mentioned that even though the SDDOT added the project, the bridge still has a few years of life expectancy left, and the project could be pushed out a few years.  Weiland made the suggestion to the council to approach the DOT and ask them to push the interstate exchange project to a later date to help with the wear and tear on roads.

Councilman Mark Crisp agreed with the ask.  He said that closing down Hwy 115 as well as the interstate exchange would pretty much paralyze all the businesses out by the interstate.

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