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SD Supreme Court affirms ruling in highway construction case
South Dakota Supreme Court affirms lower court decision.

The South Dakota Supreme Court sided with the Department of Transportation in a case regarding highway construction.

In 2010, the DOT sought to improve Highway 16B in Rapid city by placing a median between opposing lanes of traffic.

The median blocked left turns to and from property owned by Legacy Land Company, according to court documents.

Legacy sued the state, filing for declaratory relief in 2016. They claimed the barrier caused financial damages because of the inconvenient new routes needed to access the property.

The DOT argued the construction only required a few additional turns to allow traffic to enter and leave Legacy’s property. To access Legacy’s property in adherence with the median, most vehicles would only need to make U-turns at the designated breaks in the barrier.

The DOT filed for summary judgement in 2016, but the circuit court denied the motion.

In 2021, the DOT filed again for summary judgement, arguing that the median didn’t substantially hinder Legacy’s right to access its property. The circuit court granted the second motion for summary judgement. Legacy appealed the decision.

The South Dakota Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s decision in favor of the DOT.

Veda is an English and journalism major at Augustana University in Sioux Falls. She loves writing and storytelling, and she plans to pursue a career as a journalist after graduation.