State to spend $8.5 million for more passing lanes on U.S. 85
By Neal A. Shipman
With traffic on U.S. Highway 85 between Williston and Watford City increasing, the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT)will be moving forward with plans to extend additional passing lanes.
Last week, North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple, along with the NDDOT, announced plans to spend $8.5 million to extend existing passing lanes on U.S. Highway 85, between Watford City and Williston during the 2012 construction season.
According to Dalrymple, the continued work on U.S. 85, along with the development of an additional environmental document, is part of the state’s plan to convert the highway into an undivided, four-lane highway.
“The Department of Transportation will keep to an aggressive timeline again this year for road improvement projects in western North Dakota and throughout the state,” Gov. Dalrymple said. “The state is providing unprecedented funding for infrastructure improvements and we are committed to meeting the demands that come with rapid growth.”
The NDDOT is also working to complete an environmental document which is required by the Federal Highway Administration to build a new U.S. Highway 85 bridge over the Little Missouri River, about 14 miles south of Watford City.
“The Transportation Department continues to monitor traffic flows and is working with the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute to forecast traffic patterns in the state’s oil and gas counties,” Transportation Department Director Francis Ziegler said.
Other roadwork scheduled this year in western North Dakota includes the rebuilding and additional road repairs to U.S. Highway 2 north of Williston to the U.S. Highway 85 junction and east of Ray, the widening and adding passing and turning lanes to N.D. Highway 23, east of New Town to N.D. 37, the expanding of N.D. Highway 22 north of Dickinson to the county line, adding turn lanes and passing lanes to N.D. Highway 22, 12 miles north of Killdeer to Lost Bridge, the widening and adding passing and turning lanes to N.D. Highway 22 from N.D. 73 to N.D. 23.
In addition, the NDOT will be developing Williston’s temporary and permanent truck-reliever routes, as well as rebuilding U.S. Highway 85 through Alexander and continuing environmental work for truck bypass.
According to the NDDOT, future projects under consideration include building additional truck-reliever routes for the cities of Dickinson, New Town and Watford City.