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South Dakota Department of Transportation
Project Synopsis

Title: Assessment of Highway Access Impacts
Project Researcher: Dave Huft, SDDOT
Project Manager:
Research Period: -
Cost: $0.00

Problem Statement:There is a large number of access driveways along several higher volume roads (Wells Avenue in Pierre, Omaha Street in Rapid City, 12th Street in Sioux Falls, SD 115 in Sioux Falls and others). Highway access is favorable for every business, residence, or other development, but vehicles entering, leaving, crossing the roadway, or stopped nearby reduce safety and highway/route capacity.

SDDOTs present "Highway Approach Policy and Regulations" was last updated in 1979. This document has therefore been unable to address the traffic increases experienced in urban areas for several years and applies more to rural areas. If the use of SDDOTs present policy continues, SDDOT will be compromising safety as well as the functional class of many additional highways/routes, particularly in urbanizing areas. Presently, SDDOTs policy does not properly address:

  1. Reapplication for Access. When the zoning of the land changes, for example farm land that has been rezoned as commercial, landowners reapply for access which cause increases in size and number of access driveways.

  2. Access limitations that preserve the functional class of the highway/route. Limitations should address access driving widths and locations as well as number of accesses allowed that would be appropriate for 1994 and beyond.

  3. When SDDOT should purchase control of access. Purchasing control of access would help preserve the functional class of the highway/route.

  4. Access restrictions in the platting process. The access application process should be coordinated with the local government platting process so that the plat will indicate access restrictions.

  5. Coordination between state and local agencies. Some local agencies have better and more recent access policies than SDDOT. For example, the City of Rapid Citys Access Policy bases the location of an access from an intersection on the posted speed of the highway/route. Whereas, SDDOTs policy allows the access to be 20 feet from an intersection regardless of the posted speed. Therefore, Rapid City Region has developed a workable relationship with the City of Rapid City for approving access applications within the city limits. This relationship allows the Region to have the City approve and sign the access application first, based on the Citys policy and not SDDOTs.

SDDOTs policy should be updated to meet current practices so its more comparable with those local agencies that have better and more recent access policies.

SDDOT needs to evaluate its present Highway Access Policies. These policies should continue to observe the rights of the landowner as well as SDDOT, however, they should also consider safety as well as maintaining traffic volume.


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