We are still very early in the winter weather driving season, but it seems the new surface on I-229 is doing what it is supposed to do.  

Earlier this year the South Dakota Department of Transportation put down a first of its kind surface in the state on the curve near the Big Sioux River on the controlled access highway.

Drivers know (and if they don’t they should) this area becomes very treacherous under slick conditions.  Over the years numerous accidents have been a result of going too fast in trying to navigate the turn.

In an attempt to remedy the situation, a high friction surface was applied to the concrete base which will help tires grip the road better and prevent some accidents.  So far, the early results have been promising.  Travis Dressen of the DOT says in his conversations with Maintenance Crews and Highway Patrol Officers have seen better performance by vehicles on that stretch of I-229.  “Just in looking at how the product is holding up, it appears to be in good shape.  It doesn’t look any different than the day it was applied.”

Of course with a rougher surface you may wonder if your tires will wear faster by taking this stretch frequently.  Dressen is not concerned because this is such a short stretch.  “I’m certain that it does increase wear on tires around a curve.  It’s a more aggressive surface and the rougher your surface on any tire the quicker it’s going to wear.  However, this section is about a quarter mile long.  Based on the amount of surface that is out there and how much the tires are exposed to it, we wouldn’t anticipate the general traveling public to see any additional wear on their tires.”

Dressen also says soon after the high friction treatment was applied in Sioux Falls another similar project was performed in the Rapid City area.