Beginning August 29, construction will begin on the Badlands Loop Road (S.D. 240), just east of the Ancient Hunters Overlook and west of Conata Road. A section of the road will need to be removed and replaced to repair a storm drain. In an effort to accommodate visitors and local traffic, construction work will be limited to weekdays only between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Travelers can expect up to a 30-minute delay as a pilot car leads traffic through a one-lane section of the road through the construction zone. No traffic delays are expected on weekends or after 6 p.m. on weekdays.
“We are extremely sorry for any inconvenience this project will have on our visitors and neighbors. During the initial planning stage, there was talk of closing the road completely during the construction project, but we were able to get that modified so the impact will not be as great for our guests and park neighbors who routinely use the route to commute to school, church services, and work,” explained Chief Ranger Mark Gorman.
The construction project is necessary to repair a storm drain damaged by years of soil erosion. The park first became aware of the problem during a series of routine inspections. Special engineers and equipment, including cameras mounted on remote controlled vehicles, were brought in to evaluate the road, drainage issues beneath the road, and the storm drainage system itself.
The construction project, managed by the Federal Highway Administration, is being performed by S & L Construction and is expected to take 30 days. Special efforts are being taken to protect bighorn sheep, which are known to reside in the area.
As with all construction sites, travelers should exercise extreme caution while driving through the area. Even when construction is not in progress, heavy equipment, machinery, or construction materials may be stored along roadside shoulders and at nearby overlooks, creating potential hazards.