Ground breakings held for area bypasses

Gov. Jack Dalrymple along with North Dakota Department of Transportation Director Grant Levi and other state and local officials broke ground Thursday on two highway bypass projects at Watford City and New Town.

The projects will significantly enhance traffic flow and reduce truck traffic in the two communities.

The state is investing $409 million to cover all costs for the construction of truck bypass routes for the western North Dakota cities of Williston, Watford City, Dickinson, New Town and Alexander.

The New Town Truck Reliever Route is a two-lane roadway project that will re-route truck traffic on N.D. Highway 23 around the northeast of New Town, providing a permanent truck bypass for the community. The 3.2-mile project will improve traffic flow through New Town and surrounding area as well as help meet the forecasted traffic demand. The bypass is estimated to cost $25 million and will be completed this year.

In addition to New Town’s truck reliever route, the state is investing $10.8 million to reconstruct and widen N.D. Highway 1804, from N.D. Highway 23 to the truck reliever route.

The Watford City

Southeast Bypass will re-route truck traffic from N.D. Highway 23 to the southeast of Watford City. The $50.3 million project will be built to accommodate four lanes of traffic. Work on the bypass, which will be nearly six miles long, is expected to be completed this fall.

Last year, the state began construction of the Watford City Southwest Bypass at a cost of about $80 million. Watford City’s Southwest Bypass, which will direct truck traffic around the city’s western edge, will be completed this fall.

Nearly 3,900 trucks travel through Watford City each day and about another 3,500 trucks pass through New Town daily, Levi said.

Last month, Dalrymple joined state and local officials to kick off more than $190 million in construction for truck bypasses in Williston and Alexander.

The Transportation

Department also will complete building an interim bypass route for Dickinson this construction season and has begun planning and design work on a permanent bypass routes for Dickinson and Killdeer.

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 alone. While construction of bypasses in four communities is under way, work also will continue on large-scale projects that began last year, including the four-lane project on U.S. Highway 85 between Williston and Watford City.

In all, the state will invest about $2.7 billion to support the state’s oil and gas region during the current biennium.