Veterans Parkway expansion raises concerns for Sioux Falls neighborhood

Veterans parkway expansion concerns Sioux Falls neighborhood
Published: Oct. 1, 2022 at 8:49 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -The 17 miles of Veteran’s parkway could shorten commutes, something that many residents may appreciate.

Sioux Falls public works director Mark Cotter lays out the path of the new artery through the city.

“It starts at the Eros exit and comes south and then turns to the west and ties in at the Tea exit,” said Cotter.

There’s a section that residents say is a tight squeeze. Harmony estates near 85th and Minnesota will be homes, yards, and the parkway, with no berms or cement barriers.

“It’s frustrating for us,” said Wayne Wilhelmi as he points to a field, which soon will be Veteran’s parkway.

“It’s gonna be right off the end of this culdesac, and the bridge is going to be about 15 foot high,” said Wilhelmi.

The 55-mile-per-hour speed limit is concerning, especially in bad weather. Neighbors believe cars could slide into their yards if they’re involved in a collision.

“If cars come off of the road, they’re going to land on that yard or this yard, and they’ve offered us no guardrails. We’re hoping that they can reduce it down enough to give us berms on this side,” said Wilhelmi.

Resident Darwin Kampa has voiced his concerns at planning meetings.

“All we want is just our safety for our families,” said Kampa.

The city and state both have ways to provide feedback.

“It’s a state DOT, and they encourage us to go on and email our concerns which we just never heard anything back,” said Kampa. “And the city did comment on that, so there was a bit of a disconnect.”

Cotter says residents’ concerns have resulted in changes.

“Instead of having a wider median, we narrowed up that median to essentially pull the road farther away from the homes,” said Cotter.

The city has submitted guardrails to the plan, but it’s up to the federal agencies to decide, which could take up to four months. Getting a sound barrier could be more of an issue as there’s insufficient room.

Other neighborhoods in the area, such as Grand Prairie Estates, do have berms as a buffer to Veteran’s parkway, but they were installed by the land developer, not the city.

The next Veterans’ parkway public meeting is Tuesday, November 1st, from 5-7 p.m. at the Denny Sanford Premier Center.