The City of Eagle Butte announced the intention to permanently close parts of Sycamore Street and Miners Avenue. The closure is intended to reduce wear and tear on the road surface and to protect residents and property from damage by flying rocks and gravel.
Permanent barriers will be installed on Sycamore St. just south of the Black Hills Dialysis Center to create a dead end. Residents will still have access to Sycamore St. from Highway 212 heading south.
Barriers will be installed on Miners Ave. heading west before the sharp right-hand northward turn onto Sycamore St. Access to the Walter Miner Law Enforcement Center parking lot will not be restricted. Access to the municipal park will now be from Willow St. only. Traffic will continue to turn onto Miners Ave. from Willow St. The barriers will prevent through-access from Willow St. to Highway 212.
According to City of Eagle Butte Finance Officer Sheila Ganje, the primary reason for closure is to support the reclamation of roadway project planned for Sycamore Street in Fall 2021, but there are other considerations as well.
Residents have long complained about speeding on Sycamore St. which throws up dust, dirt and debris from the roadway. Flying gravel is a danger to people, pets and homes. Excessive speed and over-weight trucks also severely degrade the roadway over time. This can cause potholes, washboarding of the road surface, deterioration of the berm, and surface erosion into adjacent microhabitats and watersheds.
The closure will reduce speed and naturally restrict traffic to residential and business traffic, excluding overweight trucks or other commercial traffic. Ganje says there are currently no controls in place to manage overweight trucks within the city of Eagle Butte.
The route from Highway 212 down Sycamore St. to Miners Ave. to Willow St. is a favorite of trucks in order to avoid stop signs on Willow St.
The section of road to be closed is difficult to maintain because the curve sits in a drainage field and in a very low area. Water saturation and runoff erode the base of the road all the time. There’s no storm sewer at that location and the plots right next to the road are private property, which limits the options for water abatement.
Once the barriers are in place there will be no way for cars to drive around and continue down the road. There’s a steep ditch on one side and vegetation on the other.
Ganje summarized the thinking of City Council in taking this action by saying, “In an effort to improve the conditions of these roadways and keep them in good condition, these actions will be taken to restrict access and use in the hopes of reducing speed and prohibiting this road from being utilized as a truck route.”