A section of a scenic roadway west of Rapid City is being straightened to provide a safer route for drivers, especially motorcyclists who have crashed there often.
RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) A section of a scenic roadway west of Rapid City is being straightened to provide a safer route for drivers, especially motorcyclists who have crashed there often.
The changes are being made to a roughly half-mile twisting stretch of Norris Peak Road. It is being replaced by a less treacherous roadway, at a cost of about $2 million, the Rapid City Journal reported.
“There's two nasty 15 mph curves we're taking out of there,' said Pennington County Highway Superintendent Tom Wilsey, who is overseeing the work.
South Dakota Department of Public Safety statistics shows that 15 accidents have been reported during the past five years on the stretch of road. Eleven of those accidents occurred on a curved, grade roadway, with nine involving motorcycles. Ten of the crashes listed speed beyond conditions or vehicles leaving the road as contributing causes.
None of the accidents resulted in deaths, but nine injuries were reported, including four that were listed as incapacitating injuries.
Wilsey said county road crews have frequently made repairs to safety barriers after both reported and unreported crashes on the curves that are being straightened.
“We've seen guard rails hit a number of times and [tire] tracks in the ditch,' he said.
Construction began in April on the new stretch of road designed for more sweeping turns and a less steep grade. Part of the old route will remain to provide access for three private landowners who live nearby. The project is expected to be completed by mid-June.