Q&A: ND summer infrastructure update

By Emily Aasand | July 01, 2015

The North Dakota construction season is well underway. In western North Dakota, several projects continue or have started, all of which are crucial to safe, efficient travel for oil and gas related activites and the communities located in the heart of the Williston Basin. The following is a preview of a presentation scheduled at the Bakken Conference & Expo, July 27 to 29 in Grand Forks, N.D.

Grant Levi is the Director of the North Dakota Department of Transportation.

In terms of infrastructure, what do you see as the primary challenge in the Bakken?

The entire transportation system across the state has been challenged with the rapid growth in traffic. From 2010 to 2014 traffic increased 26 percent across North Dakota and increased 71 percent on state highways in the oil impacted counties of western North Dakota.

Much of the state’s transportation system is not designed for that type of traffic. As a result, a tremendous investment to upgrade state highways, county, city and township roads is needed to move people and goods.

Thanks to the Governor and state legislature, a historic amount of resources have been made available to build bypasses, four-lane US 85, and upgrade other highways by widening roads, adding turning and passing lanes and road shoulder improvements.

How has the current oil price commodity affected the amount of traffic in western North Dakota?

     Overall state traffic counts remain high. The Average Daily Traffic Count chart below illustrates that traffic counts remained high in the first few months of 2015 with a slight decrease in May—see blue line with yellow markers. There has been some decrease in truck traffic. NDDOT is currently gathering data and will have more information on traffic later this fall.

What are some of the projects planned for the remainder of 2015 and early 2016 in western         North Dakota?

Some major state road construction projects the DOT is working on this year include:

-Lewis and Clark Bridge near Williston

-U.S. Highway 2 between Williston and Minot

-N.D. 23B in Watford City to junction of Highway 1806

-Complete four-laning of U.S. 85 from north of Alexander to Williston

-N.D. 23 roundabout construction at Johnson’s Corner Intersection

-New Interchange at Exit 56 on I-94 near Dickinson

-Dickinson State Avenue overpass construction

-N.D. 22 work on widening, adding passing lanes and turn lanes from Killdeer south through Manning

-I-94 from Montana state line to Medora and Fryburg

-Roundabout at the intersection of N.D. 200 and N.D. 58 near Fairview

-New Town Main Street reconstruction