Meade County reveals traffic counts

STURGIS — The Meade County Highway Department has a better understanding of road usage thanks to road counters placed throughout the county.

County highway superintendent Nick Broyles presented the findings of the recent traffic count analysis to the Meade County Commission at its meeting Tuesday, May 10.

The county has purchased 10 new traffic counters in the past couple years and the highway department has put them to good use, Broyles said. The data provided by the counts is valuable in many ways, he said.

“It’s foundational to so many decisions we will be making in the future,” Broyles said.

Broyles called the report to the board an executive level summary, but behind the numbers of the spread sheet much more data is available, he said.

“It’s a way for us to keep an eye on what kind of traffic a road is getting,” Broyles said.

Commissioner Rich Liggett talked about Dyess Avenue north of Rapid City in Meade County, which showed a traffic count of 558 vehicles per day.

“There’s a lot of traffic on that road, and it’s an unpaved road,” Liggett said.

He said that as he understands it, when a road hits 500 vehicles per day in Lawrence County, they begin discussions about updating the road. And, the South Dakota Department of Transportation recommends paving a road when the daily traffic count reaches 650.

Broyles said later that traffic counts are data points that can trigger plans to improve a road.

Commissioner Talbot Wieczorek asked about traffic counts on Quaal Road near Summerset, which is in a road district. He said there is considerable development happening in the area so it would make sense that the Quaal Road District officials, Piedmont officials, and the county sit down to discuss how the road fits into the development of the area.

“That road causes me some concern,” Wieczorek said.

Broyles said he would speak to the Quaal Road District administration to ask about placing traffic counters on their road.

Once the county’s new traffic count program is fully functional, it will “tell some interesting stories,” Broyles said.

The data gleaned from the traffic counters will also help the county with future road planning, he said.

Here are the counts and pertinent data from some roads in the county:

Dyess Avenue: Recorded March 23-29, 2022; Current speed limit: 35 mph; Average Daily Traffic: 558; Average Speed: 41 mph; 85th% Speed (meaning 85% of the vehicles were traveling this speed) 49 mph; Percentage of personal vehicles: 95%

Nine Mile Road: Recorded April 8-15, 2022; Current speed limit: 55 mph; Average Daily Traffic: 61; Average Speed: 48 mph; 85th% Speed (meaning 85% of the vehicles were traveling this speed) 57 mph; Percentage of personal vehicles: 91%

Deerview Road: Recorded March 31-April 13, 2022; Average Daily Traffic: 254; Average Speed: 36 mph; 85th% Speed (meaning 85% of the vehicles were traveling this speed) 45 mph; Percentage of personal vehicles: 96%

The executive summary presented to the board can be found at: tinyurl.com/MeadeCoTCP22

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