Meade County residents circulate petitions to stop construction of Bypass Road

Residents in Meade County are hitting the streets once again, circulating petitions to stop construction of a controversial Sturgis Bypass Road.

The ordinance, proposed by the group Meade County Taxpayers for Responsible Government, would stop all County activity and funding on the road unless there is a special election and county voters approve it. Last March voters overwhelmingly voted against the county commissioner's proposed Tax Increment Financing District to pay for the Bypass Road.

Both the City of Sturgis and the Sturgis Chamber of Commerce oppose construction of the Bypass, in part because it would be bad for businesses that depend year-round on traffic.

The Commission has voted to start construction of the Bypass Road by building a $3 million, 2-mile dirt road between the north end of Cardinal Place the south end of 131st Avenue. The commissioners have no immediate plans to improve Pleasant Valley Road or Cardinal Place, which is a one-lane road. The Department of Transportation estimated that the total costs to construct and pave the Bypass Road would be $12 million, which does not include the cost of land to be taken by eminent domain. The route ends at the entrance to the Buffalo Chip campground.