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I-94 closed between Dickinson and Valley City

Highway 22 reopens to traffic today

Highway 22 was impassible following landslides and earth shifting earlier this year.

Traveling north just got a lot quicker and easier since the reopening of Highway 22 today, according to the North Dakota Department of Transportation.

The heavily-traveled road closed in May after landslides and shifting earth made it impassible about 12 miles north of Killdeer.

Many workers and travelers have been forced to detour if they needed to travel north of Killdeer, which has made the reopening a much-anticipated event.

"That's going to make us a lot happier," said Mike Bertelsen, terminal superintendent for Black Hills Trucking of Dickinson. "All of our equipment has got to go all the way around (Highway) 85, which increases the mileage by 50 miles."

It's an increase that costs trucking and oilfield companies money, he added.

Black Hills Trucking employees transport crude oil, drilling rigs and oilfield equipment, and the closure has been delaying them more than an hour every trip, he said.

"It's even made a difference where they're having to stay out of town because it's so much farther to come back here and trying to find rooms in other cities is not that easy anymore," Bertelsen said.

Reconstruction work for Highway 22 was going to create a temporary gravel passage, but the highway was paved instead, said Project Manager Brad Riely of Martin Construction.

"It's a temporary asphalt surface for the winter," he said. "The only reason they didn't want to pave it to begin with is because they didn't think we'd be done early enough in the year that the conditions would allow paving. Because we had such a nice fall and the project went so well we were able to get it covered."

Because of the unstable ground, the road was relocated about 600 feet west of where it buckled, Riely said.

"Where it's at now is where it's going to stay," said Jamie Olson, DOT public information officer. "They basically had to relocate it just to help ensure that it will remain open so we don't continue to fight those slides. Hopefully this will do the trick."

Construction in that area will continue in 2012, said Larry Gangl, DOT Dickinson district engineer.

"It's to build a road that will service all the vehicles and all the traffic that we have on 22, so it will include paving and base and widening," he said.

Turning and passing lanes will be added and Gangl expects the road to remain open during construction.

Gangl said it will be unclear when construction will begin until the project is bid in the spring.

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