Fast-paced Sixth Street construction sets back commuters

Just one month and four days until the orange maze of Sixth Street will be replaced by an open road, according to John Rittershaus, South Dakota Department of Transportation project manager. 

The heavy influx of traffic on move-in day was only exacerbated by the construction, which added almost an hour onto some students’ commutes. 

“I only live about an hour out, but it took us more than an hour to get up here,” freshman agriculture education major Mckenzie Henning said. 

According to Henning, it took almost two hours for her to simply get to campus because of construction. 

Luckily for future students, phase two of the $16.3 million Sixth Street construction project is set for completion by Nov. 4.

“Then there’s some service road work and center median work that will take place in the spring,” said BX Civil and Construction Project Manager Nic Auringer. 

Construction is focused on rebuilding the south bridge over I-29 and moving the intersection traffic lights from the 25th Avenue intersection to Sunrise Ridge Road.

The intersection move was done with businesses in mind, to “make it easier for their trucks to come in and continue the growth on the north side of Sixth Street,” Auringer said.

Auringer added it was “always a dangerous intersection,” and a “pain in the butt to try and navigate.”

Traffic flow will change for those traveling north and south on 25th Avenue. 

“After the intersection is moved, southbound traffic on 25th Avenue will only be able to turn right on Sixth Street,” Auringer said. “If you’re northbound, coming out of the BP gas station, you’ll have to turn left or right. You won’t be able to go straight through.” 

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Despite the hectic move-in day, there have not been any issues during construction, which is slightly ahead of schedule, according to Auringer and Rittershaus. 

“Overall, it’s been going really smooth. The rain, lately, has kind of been slowing progress, but if it would stop raining we’ll pick back up and keep moving on,” Auringer said. 

The construction consists of a near complete overhaul of Sixth Street. 

“There’s all new underground utilities, all new storm sewer and water main and sewer going in, all of the old road is removed and it will be replaced with all new concrete,” Auringer said. 

The south side of the Sunrise Ridge Road intersection will remain closed for another week until work is complete.

The southeast exit ramp will remain closed from one to two weeks while construction on the new single bridge is finished.