SIOUX FALLS, SD – Plans are in the works for a new interchange on Interstate 29 at 85th Street in Sioux Falls, right before the exit to Tea.
The development could provide a new entrance to the southside of Sioux Falls, but the South Dakota Secretary of Transportation said this project is more than just an exit ramp.
“Hopefully in the end, we’re going to end up with a project that’s going to be very beneficial in the area,” Darin Bergquist said.
Bergquist said the Department of Transportation looked at building an I-29 and 85th Street interchange seven years ago. A federal study in 2009 concluded it was possible. It lost steam for a while, but a year ago, private developers approached the state to look into the project again. Bergquist said this type of partnership involving state and local government, as well private developers, is unique.
“I would say this situation is unprecedented in South Dakota, where we have the state, multiple local government entities both at the county level and city level, and the private developers coming forward and being part of heading the effort,” Bergquist said.
Collectively, those developers, including Lloyd Companies, Sanford, and Hegg Companies own about 2,500 acres of land in the area. If the interchange is built, they stand to make a profit by developing this land into commercial businesses. Paul Hegg said the developers aren’t the only ones with something to gain.
“The tax revenue from just sales tax and real estate tax alone will be hugely beneficial for the communities and the counties surrounding Sioux Falls,” Hegg said.
Hegg said it could impact Sioux Falls, Tea, Harrisburg, and Lincoln County as a whole. The Lincoln County Commission recently committed $15 million to the project. Bergquist said this step was key in getting this project to move forward. Hegg said developers are pledging $4 million, and will pay for land studies. Though it is all very preliminary, Hegg said the project and the teamwork behind it could be one of the biggest things to happen to the region and state in years.
“It can only happen in South Dakota, because of the relationships we have. We all know each other,” Hegg said.
Bergquist said there is not a set timeline for the project and everything will depend on land and environmental studies in the next few years. He said construction on an overpass could start in 2016, and an interchange in 2019.
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