Deadwood facing leadership vacuum

Deadwood is bracing for highway improvements (so is Lead).

SDDoT is drawing fire for what it says could be two summers of road construction hell and nearly everyone agrees that something has to be done.

I just got off the phone with a Deadwood City supervisor and learned a few things like that city meetings have been rife with raucous outcry from residents.

One big bottleneck is at Twin City Hardware in Pluma. Heavy turning traffic on a curve near a busy junction where the Mickelson Trail crosses the highway creates many opportunities for single-finger salutes.

There has been discussion between the owners and the City about moving Twin City Hardware to the former Safeway building: a move that I support in full voice. An added inventory of lumber would replace the loss of Deadwood's only outlet for building supplies. Talk of a grocery still just mumbles.

Is there a third way?

Ever since I came to Deadwood in '77 there has been talk of a tunnel from the junction of US385 in Pluma to Highway 85 near the Broken Boot Gold Mine in Deadwood or to some location nearer Central City. The city and the state own adjacent ground at the location where a skate part is next to the Mickelson Trail on the south end of that imaginary tunnel.

The cost of disrupting commerce from the Lawrence County Courthouse to that junction is going to be serious.

Ojo Caliente near Santa Fe is a sought-after destination for locals: it's fabulous. Behind the Deadwood Convention Center there is a rock bench large enough for a slightly smaller open air hot water spa.

Drilling for hot water is not cheap, but investors would find that a well will produce enough hot water to ease pressure on the Maitland Drift which now filling the former Homestake Mine being dewatered for an underground laboratory.

The collapsing slag pile has been left at its repose in Whitewood Creek having been rendered "benign" by the agencies under state Republicans in control. If that slag is harmless, it should be added as aggregate to the concrete destined for highway repairs.

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