Reservation roads get repairs, dust control

MANDAREE Heavily traveled roads in the oil patch in the Mandaree area and other areas on the Fort Berthold Reservation are getting repairs or reconstruction this summer.

Doyle Bell, head of the Three Affiliated Tribes’ Roads Department, said several roads in the Mandaree area as well as other areas on the reservation are being repaired or scheduled for repairs along with dust control this season. Patching will be done on some of the roads. Bell said all the rain this year has been hindering getting the work done.

The tribal Roads Task Force, a group headed by Hall, is comprised of oil companies working on the reservation and tribal representatives who meet regularly to discuss road problems on the reservation and how to improve situations.

To help maintain roads on the reservation, some oil companies working on the reservation have adopted roads. Companies that haven’t joined the program are being encouraged to adopt roads. The Adopt a Road program is a project initiated by Tex Hall, tribal chairman.

Malcolm Tonneson, of Interstate Engineering in Mandan, said that company was hired by the tribes a few months ago to redesign 12.8 miles of Route 14, south of Mandaree, for reconstruction next year. He said the preliminary surveying started a few months ago and is in progress.

He said the plan is to let bids for construction in the spring. After construction planned for next season, the road would be paved the following year.

Asked how much the work will cost, he figured it would be in around $1.5 to $1.8 million a mile in that area.

One lane at a time will be done, he said. The whole width of the road cannot be worked on at once because of the traffic in that area.

“We feel we’re on schedule for what we plan to do,” he said.

Cliff Whitman, director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security for the tribes, said a meeting was held recently in Mandaree to discuss the development of a fire department for structural fires. He said 15 people have volunteered for the fire department. He said they are now looking at the costs to train the volunteers and obtain vehicles and equipment. He said sirens are being hooked up and programmed in Mandaree.