Western South Dakota's Only Ranch Station
People looking at plans
A resident assesses some of the potential proposals. Photo: C.J. Keene / SDPB

DOT consider I90 crossing closures in Pennington County

RAPID CITY, S.D. – The closure of one road has implications beyond daily use. It extends to emergency services, maintenance, and infrastructure money.

Now, the state Department Of Transportation (DOT) is looking at potential changes along I-90 in western South Dakota.

The state DOT is always assessing the practical use of roadways, overpasses, and other infrastructure used every day, and New Underwood is no different.

The community is one of several near an I-90 crossing the state is considering closing. A total of a dozen overpasses and exits are being reviewed. For many, these are the only interstate crossings for miles.

New Underwood area rancher Kent Wiltse is concerned for what change could mean for the community.

“They’re talking about closing some of the access to Interstate 90 for us and we’re just very concerned is this going to affect bringing our products to market, how fast the ambulance can get to us, fire is a big deal out here,” Wiltse said. “All that access to the Interstate is a big deal to us. We’re very concerned what the plan is and what the process going forward is.”

No formal plans have been made yet though. DOT planning squad leader Steve Gramm said there aren’t any plans to close anything as of today.

“We’re doing a public meeting open house to get input into the section of I-90 from basically Box Elder to the Pennington-Jackson County line,” Gramm said. “Seeing what people are using the crossroads for and how often they use them.”

However, closures haven’t been entirely ruled out.

“We’re just looking at – okay, what are these being used for,” Gramm asked. “Is there a possibility of maybe closing one or two of these crossings? There’s no thought process of closing all of them.”

The study area begins at Exit 57 east of Rapid City and continues to the Pennington County line past Wall. Informational materials and a survey can be found at the DOT’s website.

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