Record construction programs slated for 2015

By The Bakken Magazine Staff | January 16, 2015

North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple helped celebrate the completion of the New Town, North Dakota, truck reliever route, the fourth route completed this fall, designed to reduce truck traffic through the community and to enhance road safety in the region.

“This truck reliever route is an important infrastructure investment for New Town and the region taking trucks off the community’s Main Street and enhancing traffic movement and safety,” said Dalrymple. “This is the fourth reliever route or bypass to open this fall in western North Dakota, underscoring the state’s commitment to address the impacts of rapid growth and enhance the safety of our roadways.”

The 3.2 mile truck reliever route will divert North Dakota Highway 23 truck traffic from New Town’s Main Street to northwest of the city and includes turn lanes and asphalt with concrete at the intersections.

“This was such an essential project to the city of New Town for a number of reasons,” said Grant Levi, director of the North Dakota Department of Transportation. “One reason is, presently, there are about 3,500 trucks a day traveling through that community and now, trucks have an option to not travel through that community. The other reason is that we’re in need of reconstructing New Town’s main street. As we get into that reconstruction project, that bypass will be used as a detour.”

The 2013 and 2014 construction seasons represent the largest road construction programs in state history with more than $1.6 billion in bids for roadway projects, the state said.

“We’re very thankful for the resources the governor proposed and the legislative body gave to us last legislative session and we appreciate the fact that they have understood the need for infrastructure investments across the entire state,” Levi said. 

Other truck reliever routes completed in the fall of 2014 included the Watford City southeast and southwest bypasses and the Alexander bypass. 

“The bypass projects in Watford City really provided relief to that community by redirecting traffic out of that community,” said Levi. “It was interesting to hear how the community reacted on the day when we opened those bypasses. I heard comments that people could cross the streets, they were no longer delayed getting across town, and that they were able to move around within their community like they had in the past.”

Levi added, “With the resources made available by the governor and the legislature, we were able to open a bypass around Alexander, which was really good for that community.”

Roughly 12,000 vehicles were traveling through Alexander with 40 percent of those being trucks.

“With the bypass projects, we’re restoring the quality of life in those communities, and that’s really an essential part of what we do,” said Levi.

There is a bypass currently under construction in Williston, but it isn’t projected to be open until the end of the 2015 construction season. The NDDOT has development plans for construction projects in 2015, but the execution of said projects depend on the resources that are made available in the upcoming legislative session.

Tentative plans for 2015 include the reconstruction of Highway 23 through Watford City to turn it into a city street to serve the community, the reconstruction of the main street in New Town, as well as working on rural transportation systems to make sure the system can handle the increased traffic loads. Another project the NDDOT hopes to spearhead is changing Highway 85 from Watford City to Williston into a four-lane highway.