August 4, 2010

Surrounded by road construction

By Tina Foreman
Farmer Staff Writer

For residents of McKenzie County, there never seems to be a good time to travel. The year started out with the struggles of driving on winter roads. Then, drivers were faced with large increases in traffic on almost all of the county’s roads. Now, you can’t go any direction in the county without encountering some form of road construction. And the end doesn’t seem to be near.
“Road construction in oil field country will continue until October this year and it will be going on for the next few summers,” says Joel Wilt, P.E. North Dakota Department of Transportation assistant district engineer. “All of the projects in the Watford City area are due to the rapid deterioration of some of the highways and our efforts to increase safety at some intersections.”
As the oil field grows, roads have been and will continue to be a large concern for area towns and counties. Even though it can be a major pain, road construction now will hopefully help to make winter driving a little easier throughout the county.
“Right now we have an overlay project on Highway 73 and Highway 22 east of Watford that should finish in the next few weeks,” adds Wilt. “To the south, west, and north of Watford to Williston, we have turn lane additions widening in a few areas and bridge widening.”
  Farther south of Watford City in the area of Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s North Unit, is a six-mile grading project that has caused the NDDOT to urge truck traffic to take alternate routes.
“People naturally get frustrated, but most are able to understand that the construction personnel are just doing their jobs to make the road better,” states Wilt. “Anyone passing through the Watford City area should plan for a little extra travel time and try to be patient, which is easier if you have included the construction in your travel plans.”
When you are planning your trip, you can check out the NDDOT’s Interactive Road Map. The map is designed to help you access road conditions, load restrictions, road construction work zones, road and weather cameras, width/height restrictions and weather radar all in one map.
“I urge the public to go to the NDDOT web site and check out the construction zones on the Interactive Road Map,” adds Wilt.
The Interactive Road Map can be found at