By Derric Tiller, Josh Manzano, and Jake Nickel
It’s no secret that Rapid City has been growing in recent years. Driving anywhere in this town brings a high chance of navigating through orange reflective barriers. This construction, which serves as a constant reminder of continued growth, can be a challenge when it takes place on people’s regular driving routes. For the people commuting on 1-190 each and every day, their time has come.
Directly west of Central High School, the state’s Department of Transportation is building a new interchange and bridge near exit 1 on I-190. The new bridge’s placement will straighten the path of I-190 and the interchange–construction jargon for an “exit and on-ramp”–will allow drivers to access the interstate from North, Silver, and Philadelphia Streets. The current bridge is largely outdated, having been built 50 years ago, with many of the fixtures and holds used in the bridge no longer up to code.
Yet a new bridge isn’t the only thing getting upgraded west of Central. “We plan on upgrading the water pipes and small roads near the current site,” said one of the assistant architects. Users of the bicycle path and M-Hill will find it easier to maneuver in the area as well, since the project will connect and extend current bike paths and sidewalks on the west side of the interstate and along 11th street. There will also be more construction in the surrounding area but it remains unclear as to what and when those projects will be completed.
This project without a doubt will be expensive, costing a cool 32 million dollars. The cost is reasonable considering the specifications of the bridge-highway stretch being renovated. The project seems to be stretching the estimated date of completion more than the wallet. It began August 31st and is expected to be completed October 27th of 2017. Expect to see traffic backups around next year’s Sturgis Rally.
Don’t start mapping out a new way to get to school or work quite yet. Though the bridge is coming down and the road is being renovated, all this will not be happening at once. When talking to someone familiar with the project we found out only half the bridge will come down at one time allowing people to use the other side.
By visiting SDI190interchange.com you can stay up to date with the construction taking place off of 1-190. Rapid City will continue to grow and with growth comes construction, something those bigger cities have come to appreciate.