Four the Future: SD-34 traffic projections too low
By CHUCK CLEMENT, Staff Reporter
Supporters of expanding SD-34 into a four-lane highway from Madison east to I-29 continue to believe that the proposal still doesn't receive enough respect from state officials.|
Their latest criticism is directed at the estimates that transportation officials have calculated as the traffic-count numbers projected 20 years into the future.
According to John Goeman, a Highway 34 Four the Future committee member, the state Transportation Department's daily traffic count for 2032 was estimated too low for the stretch of SD-34 from Madison through Colman.
Data provided by South Dakota Department of Transportation estimates the count for vehicles that pass through the stretch of SD-34 near Wentworth averaged 3,604 vehicles per day in 2012, and the count will only increase by 806 to 4,410 automobiles by 2032.
Goeman argues that SDDOT's numbers for the past two years indicate the estimate wasn't accurate since the daily traffic count grew by 104 vehicles -- from 3,500 in 2011 to 3,604 last year.
"I'd have to say that the state is underestimating the 20-year picture," Goeman said. "If we've seen a 100-vehicle gain in one year, I don't see how an 800-vehicle increase in 20 (years) is accurate."
Goeman also pointed out that the same SDDOT study calculated a 1,200-vehicle increase for each of the four-lane highways located east of Aberdeen (to I-29) and south from Pierre (to I-90) during the next 20 years. Those stretches of four-lane roads also currently have lower traffic counts than SD-34 -- 3,564 for Aberdeen's US-12 and 2,265 for Pierre's US-83.
According to Goeman, Lake County residents can argue that conditions are primed for more traffic from I-29 to Madison.
In Madison alone, the local hospital will move into a more modern facility located along the SD-34 bypass, and Farmers Ag Center is currently expanding the volume of the co-op's fertilizer storage area. Madison's two home-building businesses, Custom Touch Homes and Superior Homes, continue constructing single-family houses and other residential-living structures, needing building materials transported in and homes hauled out.
Dakota Ethanol near Wentworth also has a high volume of truck traffic, needing corn hauled into the ethanol plant to produce its fuel.
In addition, when Global Polymer moves from Arlington to Madison's industrial park next to SD-34, the manufacturer will bring from 140 to 150 more jobs. The company has plans for expanding its workforce at its new facility.
Global Polymer will also need to move its finished product to customers. The company lists a product lineup on its website that includes bearings, chain guides, rollers, conveyor flights, and snowmobile skis and wheels.
The company also states from its online site that Global Polymer's customers include three of the world's largest agriculture implement manufacturers, the Western Hemisphere's largest truck and trailer suspension manufacturer, and every major railroad and rail-car manufacturer in North and Central America.
Goeman added that he expects growth among the lakeside populations near Madison and at Dakota State University. DSU remains the only public university in the state without a connection to a four-lane highway.
©Madison Daily Leader 2013
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