STURGIS, S.D. – A study of one of the busiest corridors in Sturgis is hoped to identify and prioritize potential road improvements to address current safety and efficiency concerns as well as support the next 30 years of growth and development in the Northern Hills community.
The corridor planning study is being performed for a portion of Junction Avenue – approximately 1.1 miles in length, beginning at Pineview Drive, south of Interstate 90, and continuing north to Harmon Street near Monument Health Sturgis Hospital. A Study Advisory Team (SAT) comprised of representatives from the South Dakota Department of Transportation and the City of Sturgis has been formed to guide the development of the corridor study.
In April, the Sturgis City Council authorized Mayor Mark Carstensen to sign a Statewide Planning and Research grant request for the Junction Avenue Study.
Work on the corridor study began in August 2022, and the study is anticipated to take about a year to complete. A Study Advisory Team (SAT) comprised of representatives from the South Dakota Department of Transportation and the City of Sturgis has been formed to guide the development of the corridor study.
A major problem in this area is the offset road intersections that do not line up on the east and west side of Junction Avenue, which leads to awkward turning patterns. In addition, there are no controlled traffic signals for access to neighborhoods and trails south of the Interstate.
Two years ago, the city considered buying the Caddy’s restaurant at the former Best Western and now Sturgis Lodge and Suites to create a true intersection at Anna Street.
The city had studied the possibility of demolishing the Caddy’s building and extending Anna Street to Vanocker Canyon Road. The study was the result of a suggestion by the SDDOT to reroute the existing Vanocker Canyon and Junction Avenue intersection with Anna Street.
However, due to concerns by citizens about the project, no further action was taken. The city did not purchase the building and did not proceed with the project.
The corridor study is being funded 80% through federal S.R.P. funds. The city’s 20% of the study will cost about $30,000, Sturgis City Manager Daniel Ainslie said.
“It will provide us valuable data that we can use to apply for future grants to be able to make the improvements that may be recommended,” he said.
The study is being performed by traffic engineers, Ainslie said.
“They won’t just look at vehicular traffic. They will also look at pedestrian and bicycle traffic to ensure that people will be able to move from the north side of the community to the south side,” he said.
Ainslie said they have requested that the traffic engineers come up with some alternatives to address the existing traffic concerns and growth that is happening now and in the future in Sturgis.
“We also want them to take into consideration the commercial growth that is starting along Junction as well as south Junction and Anna Street,” he said. “We want to know what the best potential solutions are.”
In addition to research by the traffic engineers, the study also will include public meetings for citizens to give suggestions much like the recent meetings on the Lazelle Street Corridor Study. That meeting is tentatively set for spring of 2023.
“The goal of the project is to analyze existing and future traffic patterns in the area, and how to provide a plan to address these needs,” Ainslie said.
As the project team continues evaluating existing conditions, and then looks to begin identifying potential near- and long-term improvements, the public is invited to share its experiences and thoughts about the study area.
Review the project fact sheet at https://www.sturgis-sd.gov/JunctionAvenueCorridorStudy and then share your thoughts. Comments can be sent to Brittney Ragels at [email protected] (mailing address: 1040 Harley-Davidson Way, Sturgis, SD 57785) or online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/JunctionAvenue.