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U.S. DOT awards over $66 million in rural road grants to SD projects


Pennington County rural infrastructure is receiving over $66 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The grant dollars were awarded through the Rural Surface Transportation Grant Program. The money will be used for the U.S. Highway 385 Safety Improvements project.

The project will construct about 15 miles of highway safety improvements in Pennington County.

Improvements include widening the shoulder, providing a 30-foot clear zone, replacing drainage pipes and more.

The project is part of a larger federal program that provides over $645 million to improve rural roads throughout the country.

“Rural communities face some of the toughest transportation challenges, yet are often left out of major federal investments, a pattern that we are changing that under President Biden’s leadership,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

The project aims to address safety issues that contribute to a large number of automobile and motorcycle crashes on U.S. 385.

The highway is a major route tourist take through the Black Hills. The project aims to improve access to the Black Hills National Forest, National Parks and Monuments, and South Dakota State Park sites.

Evan Walton is an SDPB reporter based in Sioux Falls. Evan holds a Master’s in English Literature from Southern New Hampshire University and was honorably discharged from the United States Army in 2015, where he served for five years as an infantryman.