DOT updates public, seeks input on Deadwood Box Corridor study

Replacement of the Deadwood Box, which starts at this Pine Street inlet, will be more than a $66 million project and may realign the highway configuration. Pioneer photo by Jaci Conrad Pearson

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DEADWOOD — With the top three build options coming in at an estimated $60 million to $66 million, the upcoming Deadwood box culvert and roadway replacement in 2026 will be a behemoth of a project.

That said, the Deadwood Box study continues to progress, and the South Dakota Department of Transportation has more information to share via a self-guided online format and public meeting number two, up and ready for viewing at deadwoodbox.com through Feb. 8, where public input can also be voiced.

The concrete box/bridge structure, deemed the Deadwood Box, runs underneath and supports highways 14A and 85, carrying Whitewood Creek underneath the highway from Pine Street to near Tin Lizzie Casino.

The DOT gathered public input on the project over the summer in anticipation of the planned construction project, as it evaluated alternate options for the replacement of the structure and roadway corridor.

The goals of public meeting #2 are to present completed work, describe purpose and need, present options, and ask for input on build options.

Information presented includes: existing conditions; environmental progress/purpose and need; build options; timeline and next steps; and public input opportunities.

The public meeting is a 19:34 video that can be accessed by clicking the “Resources” box at www.deadwoodbox.com . Public comment is being accepted through Feb. 8.

Project manager Steve Hoff, of HDR Engineering, presents meeting.

“The study advisory team made up of staff from the South Dakota Department of Transportation, city of Deadwood, Federal Highway Administration, Lawrence County, HDR, and Albertson Engineering has reviewed a draft needs and purposes for the project and the build options developed,” Hoff said. “We are now seeking your review and input.”

Input is desired, specifically, on the draft needs and purposes and build options developed.

“The purpose of this project is to address the deteriorating structure to provide a durable structure and reduce long-term maintenance costs of the Deadwood Box,” Hoff said. “Needs are continuing deterioration of the Deadwood box, low sufficiency and condition ratings, maintaining structure at ‘fair’ or better condition.”

The purpose and need provides a basis for the development and evaluation of project options. The need describes the problems to be addressed and describes the causes of those problems.

Each alternative must be evaluated on its ability to meet the purpose and needs. The purpose and need can be further defined based on input from stakeholders and the public.

“The draft purpose and need is located on the project web site,” Hoff said. “Comments on the purpose and need are welcome to be submitted as part of this public meeting.”

The project goals project principals are striving to achieve include: parking and pedestrian connectivity; traffic and business accommodation during construction; low environmental impact, trailhead connectivity; capacity and safety improvements on the highway sections; preserving historic landmark and aesthetics.

“The concepts presented were developed to address these needs,” Hoff said.

The study area begins at the intersection of highways 14A and 85, travels to the southwest, and ends at the intersection of Highway 14A and Upper Main Street.

“The existing structure spans the width of the highway carrying US Highway 14A and US 85 traffic,” Hoff said.

Environmental scan

The environmental team has been working diligently on identifying environmental resources within the study area and are now focusing on what impacts each of the options have on those resources identified.

“During their scan, the environmental team has reviewed approximately 20 resources that may be impacted with replacement of the box,” Hoff said.

The team focused on a couple of key resources.

“Potential regulated material sites, which may include former gas stations, tank sites, or even Whitewood Creek, which was impacted by past mining,” Hoff said. “Cultural resources which are related to the historic designations. We will continue to coordinate with the state historic preservation office and National Park Service.”

Build options

The team has developed 11 build concepts and major rehabilitation concepts.

“All build concepts were discussed during a recent advisory team meeting. The concepts were narrowed down to nine build options,” Hoff said. “Due to various reasons, including not meeting the purposes and needs, impacts to the public, and environment.”

The build options and an evaluation matrix are available on the website.

The top three scoring build options are: 1a -- US14A as thru movement, parking to east, highway to west, Deadwood Box rebuilt within existing; 1c -- US14A as thru movement, parking to west, highway to east, Deadwood Box rebuilt within existing; 2a -- US85 as thru movement, parking to east, highway to west and along Sherman Street, Deadwood Box rebuilt within existing.

“Option 1a is the closest concept to rebuilding the roadway in the box as it is today, along with some improvements,” Hoff said. “It should be noted that, based on analysis, a three-lane section is proposed to replace the current four-lane section between Main and Pine streets. The roadway would have a lane of traffic in each direction with a center two-way left turn lane. A five-foot sidewalk will be installed on both sides of the roadway from Pine Street to Sherman Street, where a 10-foot shared-use path, shown in green, will be installed along the east side to Railroad Avenue and connecting the existing Whitewood Creek trail.”

The construction of the sidewalk and shared-use path are consistent with all build options.

“In addition, the intersection of Sherman Street and the Highway would be improved,” Hoff said.

This option allows for all construction detours to remain within the proximity of the 14A corridor and off Main Street.

“Minimal right of way acquisition is required and has minimal impact to existing utilities,” Hoff said.

Right of way impacts are an estimated .34 acres, net parking loss is approximately nine spaces, for a total cost of $59.5 million.

Option 1C shifts the alignment of the roadway from Sherman Street north.

“The flip of the roadway and parking improves connectivity for those accessing Main Street eliminating the need to cross the highway from the parking area,” Hoff said. “Other roadway improvements are very similar to 1a … the proposed box would follow the existing alignment and be located under the proposed parking from Sherman Street to where it crosses the highway near the outlet.”

Right of way impacts include 1.56 acres, net parking impacts include a loss of 22 spaces, for a total cost of $66.2 million.

This option ranks third highest of all the options.

Option 2a shifts the primary route of traffic to US 85 and moving the highway designation to Sherman Street, north of Pine Street.

“US 14A traffic would intersect US85 at the existing Deadwood Street/Sherman Street intersection,” Hoff said. “This option would provide the best opportunity to connect Whitewood Creek Trail to Mickelson Trail. Other benefits of this option are to consolidate the number of intersections that currently exist along the highway and improving the intersection of Sherman Street and the highway. However, this does shift the primary route to Sherman Street. Another benefit is an increase in the number of parking spaces, due to the new parking area between Deadwood Avenue and the highway. Direct connection to Lee Street is removed along Sherman Street, though there is access between Main Street and the parking area.”

For Option 2a, the alignment of the proposed box would follow the existing one.  

Right of way impacts are 1.04 acres, with a net parking space gain of 26 spaces and an estimated cost of $65.3 million.

Several structure options for the carrying of Whitewood Creek were reviewed for the replacement of the Deadwood Box and have been narrowed down to a closed cell drainage box as a structure that will best fit the space and constructability.

Each of the nine build options is presented for review on the Public Meeting #2 tab.

“An important factor regarding constructability and reduced impact to adjacent buildings is that for options where the channel remains on its existing alignment, the new box can be built within the walls of the existing box,” Hoff said.

Next steps

The primary focus from now through Feb. 8 is to receive, review, and address public comment.

“The comments from the public are very important for us to refine the options, remove the options that are universally disliked, and possibly develop additional options for review,” Hoff said. “Following the end of the comment period, we will update the options to address comments and continue with the environmental review,” Hoff said.

A third public meeting is planned for late February or early March to present a reduced number of options, where environmental considerations and public input will all be considered and used to move forward in a more detailed environmental review.

Following that meeting, the focus will be on developing the environmental document.

Input opportunities include adding notes to an online comment map, a comment card on the web site, and connecting through e-mail.

By visiting the project site at www.deadwoodbox.com members of the public can indicate concerns about a particular area by clicking on a box and making a note in an online study map.

Questions and comments can also be directed to the study advisory team online at this address.

The preferred email means of input is Study@DeadwoodBox.com.

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