The week that was

HELP COULD BE ON THE WAY There may be some help coming for frustrated residents along Meadowlark Drive in southwest Minot. For years, getting out of the neighborhood located west of Dakota Square Mall has been difficult, to say the least. Turning left onto 16th Street Southwest is nearly impossible with the increase in traffic in Minot. That means drivers exiting the neighborhood can endure long waits to turn left, or turn right onto 16th Street Southwest and somehow make their way back north along a different route. But a plan expected to come before the Minot City Council next week could help alleviate the traffic concerns. The proposal would create a signaled intersection at 16th Street and 31st Avenue Southwest, and include a second way out of the neighborhood, onto an extended 31st Avenue Southwest. More details will be presented at Monday’s council meeting, but such a plan would certainly help drivers gain safe access to 16th Street from the neighborhood, which now has only one access point. Let’s hope the details can be worked out, and a safer, more user-friendly route in and out of the neighborhood can soon be built.

BILLION FOR BOOM The $1.1 billion in state aid provided by the North Dakota Legislature last week to help communities deal with aspects of the ongoing oil boom certainly sounds like a lot of money and it is. But the money will be spread over a wide array of issues in western North Dakota. Road repairs. Infrastructure improvements. School expansions. Law enforcement, emergency medical services, hospital needs and nursing home changes. Make no mistake about it: The record $1.1 billion will make a dramatic impact on communities feeling the effects of the oil industry’s rapid growth. But there were some members of the Legislature that last week expressed concern that $1.1 billion might not be enough to fill all the region’s demands, even though the funding is nearly triple the amount allocated for the current two-year budget. That remains to be seen, but for sure western North Dakota cities will welcome the funding.