That’s not a bump in the road; that’s a grave!
Actually, several American Indian graves along the route of the bypass road the Meade County Commission wants to build from I-90 Exit 37 to the Buffalo Chip Campground:
Meade County Highway Superintendent Ken McGirr told Meade County commissioners Wednesday that several ceremonial grave sites were found during archeological studies of the proposed Sturgis bypass route just a few miles from Bear Butte, Fort Meade and the Custer Trail.
The burial sites are reportedly within the right-of-way proposed for the road.
Meade County Commissioner Alan Aker says the better thing to do may be to reroute the proposed road. He says the commission believes they can come up with a viable solution to keep everybody happy [Gary Matthews, “Survey Turns up Old Grave Sites Along Proposed Sturgis Bypass Route,” KBHB Radio, 2015.05.14].
Meade County Taxpayers for Responsible Government, the group of Meade County residents who formed to successfully block the tax increment financing district the county proposed to fund construction of the bypass, lists the statutes that would prevent the county from plowing that road into existence. They feel they will ned to watch their local leaders closely and make sure all relevant state officials on historic preservation need to be alerted to make sure commissioners don’t violate those laws or the graves:
Commissioner Alan Aker aggressively sought ways to go around the graves, and the laws. While questioning McGirr, Aker said people must build driveways and roads over graves all the time and that if our laws were in Europe, they wouldn’t have ANY roads. McGirr referenced the use of “best practices” and following state statutes, particularly on undisturbed soils. Aker should listen [Meade County Taxpayers for Responsible Government, Facebook post, 2015.05.13].
An eastern bypass still strikes me as a good idea for Sturgis. The discovery of these graves means Meade County may have to arc that road out further to the east.