Plans for modifying U.S. Highway 16 leaves some business owners concerned

 An animation of how option two will look if project planners implement the change to U.S Highway 16.
An animation of how option two will look if project planners implement the change to U.S Highway 16. (KOTA)
Published: Dec. 10, 2019 at 6:25 PM MST
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The project to help ease the traffic flow on U.S. Highway 16 is slowly coming together but some business owners are worried the current plans may infringe upon their profit margins.

The state department of transportation is presenting some options to modify U.S Highway 16's future traffic volume after a 2016 study. According to the study, the traffic flow will come close to almost doubling by 2050.

The project will stretch from Cathedral Drive to Keystone Wye which is 16 miles of road.

The two plans take a look at how to safely direct tourist around the intersection of U.S 16 and Catron Boulevard.

The first option will cost about $30 million where U.S. 16 traffic will not be interrupted and go over U.S. 16 Bypass/Catron Boulevard.

The second option will create left turns at the intersection crossovers, which is cheaper. The estimated price tag is $14 to $18 million.

Some business owners are a little concerned about the suggested plans.

For example, right off of U.S 16 is the Indigo Iris Rocks and Stones shop, the only one in Rapid City. The main access point is Addison Avenue. According to the plans, there could be some restrictions or even a possible road closure on Addison Avenue which would limit the customer traffic.

The owners of this shop are retired and said limiting their customers means taking a major hit on their main source of income.

"Our business depends on having safe and convenient access for our business. We feel as though, well, if they eliminate our business, it's not going to be there anymore," Bob Klescewski, one of the rock shop's owners, said.

"We know we are going to have impacts. That's part of the business of working on roads. So we want to make sure that we can accomodate them as much as we possibly can and try to minimize the impacts made," SDDOT Planning Engineer Steven Gramm said.

Klescewski suggests the planners add a traffic light on Addison Avenue to give drivers the chance to slow down and reach the businesses on both sides of the highway.

If either plan is selected to be constructed it is scheduled to start in 2026 and will take about eight months to build.

The planners are seeking public input till December 24 and if people cannot attend the in-person meeting they can go to their

to comment.

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