Kloucek: Build Highway 50 Bypass Around Yankton

Take a look at the highway map at Yankton:

Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 9.18.51

Doesn’t Highway 50 just beg for a bypass around the north and east side of Yankton?

Frank Kloucek thinks so. The former Scotland legislator submitted the following written testimony at the regional South Dakota Transportation Improvement Plan meeting in Sioux Falls last week:

In the past two months excellent editorials have been written by Randy Gleich, Leo Cwach and Ruth Ann Dickman in the Yankton Press and Dakotan, concerning the need for a truck bypass around Yankton. I agree whole heartily with their comments. It is time to put the word “we” back into the Yankton vocabulary to help truckers cope with the ongoing traffic issues in Yankton. It is time to help farmers when they are busy hauling grain and livestock to Stockmens Livestock Auction, Yankton Livestock Auction, Cimpls [American Foods Group] and hauling grain, fertilizer, feed and other products to and from Yankton and other destinations. It is time to help delivery, service and other trucks by providing a bypass to avoid the congestion on US Hwy 81 and Broadway. A bypass would help alleviate truck traffic on 4th street going to and from the Nu Star pipeline loading terminal. It would reduce the possibility of dangerous accidents with highly flammable petroleum products in the heart of downtown Yankton.

A bypass would also prevent the state’s expensive plan to expand Fourth Street (Hwy 50) to five-lanes. That project will make the roadway more dangerous for pedestrians, bicyclists and local traffic in historic downtown Yankton. It’s ironic that even as the city is spending great resources to create a plaza, walking paths and parks on the south side of the downtown area, citizens are being forced to accept a five-lane truck corridor two blocks away.

Such a bypass will help alleviate wear and tear on Yankton’s road system and extend road life, reduce repair costs etc for years to come. Aberdeen, Sioux Falls Mitchell Rapid City and many other towns Yankton wants to emulate, have such bypasses. Common sense dictates that such a bypass should be built soon for the benefit of Yankton and the surrounding area.

In the 1950s my grandfather was promised there would be a Yankton bypass “someday”. In the 1960s 70s and 80s my father was also made the same promise. In the 90s until present I was also made that promise. That day is before us.

With the huge tax increases passed by this years legislature totaling approximately 185 million dollars in license fees wheel taxes and property taxes for roads and bridges the time is right for such a project. Updating existing roads around Yankton for a bypass is a real possibility.

Yankton has not had a comprehensive traffic study since 2001. This is greatly needed and I believe will clearly show the need for such a bypass.

The time has come to do the right thing for Yankton and the surrounding area. Lets make a good faith effort to put the truck bypass on the 5 year STIP plan to benefit everyone for years to come [Frank Kloucek, written testimony, regional STIP meeting, Sioux Falls, SD, 2015.07.14].

I didn’t catch a northeast bypass among the semifinalists in Onward Yankton’s big-idea contest. But I do like the suggestion from Kloucek and others that a northeast bypass would do more to improve traffic flow in Yankton than the $8.4 million the state wanted to spend to add a turning lane to Highway 50 through town. Of course, the state had to postpone that project last spring when the lone bid came in way high; if we can’t find a contractor to do a reconstruction on budget, can we find anyone to plow a new road around the northeast side of Yankton?

7 Responses to Kloucek: Build Highway 50 Bypass Around Yankton

  1. mike from iowa

    iowa DOT re-routed US Hiway 60 around Sheldon,iowa and made it 4 lane 65 mph bypass. It also bypasses LeMars where it used to merge with US 75. Makes drives to Soo City quicker from NW iowa

  2. frank is the long-time dem legislator the repubs specifically removed w/gerrymandering, right??

  3. Douglas Wiken

    “Old” highway 50 and a highway that is north of Old 50 both could run around north of Yankton. There was a gravel road that went north on the east side of Yankton that met with streets by golf course and connected to Highway 81.

    The problem with the idea for trucks is that they are not paying a pitiful fraction of the costs for truck damage to highways. A loaded semi or large bus will do roughly 15,000 times as much damage as a car driving same mileage. The failure to fairly tax heavy trucks subsidized them and as well as destroying highways also helped to destroy railroads. Cost shifts for special interests end up with all kinds of presumably unintended costs to all taxpayers.

  4. Absolutely the best common sense approach to this whole mess surrounding Yankton’s increased traffic problem.

  5. The problem with bypasses is the developer-“planner”-bankster industrial complex increase new development, driveway approaches, big box stores, which all lead to lower speeds, more congestion, slowing traffic control devices, and an emptying of downtown main street.

    Bypasses should be just that: very limited access highways: here one exit well east and another well west of Yankton. Then strict zoning should preclude development that reduces bypass effectiveness.

    Doug’s note is spot on: heavy trucks no way near pay their fair share of the road damage, wear, and tear they cause. Our road infrastructure funding issues and problems will evaporate when the heavy trucks pay road taxes commensurate with the exponential damage they cause to roads over light cars.

  6. You do realize that every tax you add to the big bad trucks increases the cost of the products you buy right? Yea, tax payers pay for that road damage… We will still pay for that road damage if that cost is passed to truckers, it doesn’t just go away.

  7. Douglas Wiken

    Nathan, I understand that. But, associating true costs with products is more rational in the market than burying those costs in a way not obvious to purchasers..or sellers for that matter.