Tea could set national precedence by being the first community to gain an interchange exit and new entrance to town with so many parties working together to make it happen.
According to SDDOT director Darrin Burquist, this would be the first such interchange in the country with so many entities working together.
Multiple developers, Lincoln and Minnehaha counties, the Department of Transportation, the federal transportation and the city of Tea are working together on what would be Tea’s second interstate exit in approximately 13 years.
“It’s the first time we’re collaborating like that,” said Dan Lemme of C-Lemme Companies. “It’s a major project –millions and millions and millions of dollars.”
Traffic and environmental studies are in the works. Lemme believes the interchange could draw more traffic than 41st Street in Sioux Falls. Approval of the studies would give them the green light to proceed with construction.
“As of now the DOT has approved an overpass at 85th Street; the interchange hasn’t been approved yet as they are waiting on the results from the Interchange Justification Report,” said mayor John Lawler.
“As this project moves forward, it will create a tremendous opportunity for all parties involved because of the potential commercial development.
Developers are already putting the gears in motion. Joel Dykstra with RMB Associates is reaching out to the 10 homeowners on Sundowner Avenue to purchase their properties. The homeowners have the option, Dykstra stressed, and so far four of the 10 have said yes to relocating and turning their land over to future development.
“The project is important to the city of Tea because 85th Street will be the dividing line between Tea and Sioux Falls, and the area will have great upside potential,” Lawler said. “It will also allow us to eventually create a second entrance into the city and allow for better traffic flow.”