Traffic safety measures in place ahead of 77th Sturgis Rally

Safety measures are being put into place ahead of the 77th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and it could make your daily commutes over the next week a little slower.

As the motorcycles roll in, the traffic builds up.

Hundreds of thousands of bikers fill the tiny town of Sturgis and they travel all over the Black Hills.
That's why the South Dakota Department of Transportation takes extra steps to help out.

Right now the speed limit may say 75, but come Thursday, it's going down to 65, and it's all for your safety.

DOT Rapid City Region Traffic Engineer, John Suomala says, "With the increased volumes we see that the average speeds decrease so to get everybody traveling closer to the same speed, we lower the speed limits."
That includes I-90, between Exit 55 in Rapid City to Exit 30 in Sturgis.

As well as areas of Highway 34 and 79 -- in areas around the Buffalo Chip and the Iron Horse Campground.
But that's not where they stop. In another effort against crashes, the D-O-T is doing their part in areas where a stop sign won't be enough to regulate the traffic.
Suomala says, "In order for us to create more opportunities for vehicles to make turning movements into that traffic - we put in a signal to handle that volume."
That includes these areas listed on your screen -- some on I-90 exits, and more on other highways in the Hills.
Traffic engineers with the D-O-T say in year's past, these extra regulations have made a difference.
Suomala says, "It's hard to kind of measure because we see so many crashes that week compared to the rest of the year, but compared to other rallies -- we've seen a benefit."
The decreased speed limits will be in effect until August 13th and the extra signals will run until the 14th.