Highway 14 and 73 intersection still dangerous

by Del Bartels

The intersection north of Philip, the crossing of Highway 14 and Highway 73, has had a history of vehicle accidents.

In late April of 2010, the South Dakota Department of Transportation erected an extra stop sign nest to the northbound lane of Highway 73 at the intersection with Highway 14. The sign is surrounded by three plastic, white posts and underlayed by a painted white triangle between the forward lane and the right-turn lane.

From the north, on the other side of the intersection, rumble strips are installed in the blacktop in the southbound lane of Highway 73. On Highway 14, coming from both the east and the west, there are right-turn lanes. These are not traffic lanes to be used to go around vehicles slowed or stopped to turn left.

Philip Police Chief Kit Graham said, "It took me two to three years of visiting with the Department of Transportation in Pierre. I wanted a raised island as high as a curb, with the stop sign on that, but didn't get it. The majority of people were on board for the rumble strips, but not everyone, so we didn't get them.

"I did get some of what I asked for and I am very appreciative for what the DOT put up. I think that helped, but drivers are still going through that intersection without stopping. All we have to do is keep one person from getting hurt, or God forbid killed, and the money we spend would be worth it," said Graham.

Graham believes rumble strips and possibly flashing amber lights might help alert inattentive, northbound drivers to the intersection. "You can get the lights that don't have to run off of electricity. They are solar powered," said Graham.

Mark Coyle, owner of Coyle's Service Station on the northeast corner of the intersection, said, "It's helped, it really has. It isn't run nearly as many times as it was before. I think they just plain missed it. I'm not stretching it, where I would see them run it at least once a week. Once in a while, not very often at all now."