BELLE FOURCHE –– People traveling in and around Belle Fourche will soon need to start paying more attention when roaming the south side of town as a fast-approaching construction project at the intersection of U.S. Highways 34 and 85 is expected to create some traffic difficulties.
Belle Fourche Mayor Gloria Landphere reported on the traffic signal project during Monday’s city council meeting. She said that on March 24, representatives from the city engineer and public works departments, along with Landphere and Police Chief Marlyn Pomrenke met with officials from the South Dakota Department of Transportation (DOT) about the upcoming project.
“They shared with us how the project will start and approximate dates on it,” she said, adding that the first part of the project will involve the removal of the existing turning lanes.
Landphere said that DOT will be in regular communication with the city as the project progresses.
“That was a good first meeting we had with them,” she said. “There will be periodic meetings as things start to get going.”
Public Works Director Dirk Hoffman said that crews are expected to put up cones or barrels to control traffic and flow of the roadway that surrounds the traffic light.
“So, it is going to slow down traffic after this project starts,” he said. “Be advised people, it’s going to take a little more time to get through town.”
Landphere said that DOT officials shared with her that within the next month or so, travelers should expect to see the work commencing.
Assistant City Engineer Steve Nafus and Landphere have worked for a handful of years trying to get and keep the project on the state department’s itinerary. Their tenacity has paid off, Landphere said.
“We finally made it,” she said.
Landphere told the Pioneer Thursday that there will be portions of the project during which there may be only one lane of travel which will be shared by travelers going in either direction. She urged travelers to stay alert and watch for abruptly changing traffic conditions when traveling in the area of the project.
The project is expected to begin sometime in May and wrap up approximately near the end of September to the beginning of October.
Landphere said that community members can find regular updates regarding the project’s progress on the Belle Fourche Police Department’s Facebook page.
The Black Hills Pioneer will continue to follow the project and provide regular updates as well.
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