The Black Elk Wilderness in the Black Hills, South Dakota

USDOT awards $66.7 million to reduce crashes in South Dakota’s Black Hills  

December 27, 2023

The South Dakota Department of Transportation (SDDOT) received a $66.7 million grant to reconstruct a 15-mile rural segment of U.S. Highway 385 (US 385) in the Black Hills region. Awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), the funding will support an ongoing project to reduce car and motorcycle crashes in the area. 

South Dakota is one of 18 states to receive a federal award via USDOT’s five-year, $2 billion Rural Surface Transportation Grant Program (Rural). The program supports projects that improve roadway and rail safety and mobility and raise the quality of life in rural areas. The federal agency announced Rural grants worth a combined $645 million earlier this month.  

The state will reconstruct the roadway’s horizontal and vertical curves to meet current design standards. Segments of the road stretching from Sheridan Lake to the Pennington/Lawrence County Line “experience a high number of automobile and motorcycle crashes due to geometric deficiencies,” USDOT officials said. 

Other safety measures will include replacing four major drainage structures, installing two grade-separated trail crossings, roadway surfacing and replacing and extending drainage pipes. In addition, the state will widen shoulder width to 8 feet and expand the highway’s clear zone to 30 feet. 

At a total project cost of $72 million, construction of US 385 will be split into two phases. Phase 1 construction for the northern segment running from Pactola Dam to the Pennington-Lawrence county line will begin in 2024. Phase 2 construction for the southern stretch running from Sheridan Lake to Pactola Dam will begin in 2025.   

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Photo by the United States Forest Service

Paul Stinson

Paul Stinson has more than 15 years of journalism experience, including a decade covering the legislative and regulatory affairs of Texas, South Africa, and Germany for an affiliate of Bloomberg, L.P. His experience includes covering voting rights and the sectors of environment, energy, labor, healthcare, and taxes. Stinson joined the team in October as a reporter for SPI’s news publications, which include Government Contracting Pipeline, Texas Government Insider, and the newly-launched Government Market News. He is also a Fulbright Scholar to Germany, and an Arthur F. Burns Fellow. He holds a master’s in journalism from Indiana University.   

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