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Who owns Old Highway 12 in Bowman County?: County will continue maintenance until ownership is determined

The ownership of a stretch of Old Highway 12 in Bowman County should not impact residents or business owners.

The city of Bowman and Bowman Township have City Attorney Steve Wild looking into the ownership after the issue came up earlier this year in discussions about improvements to a stretch of the road that runs to the south of Frontier Travel Center & Deli in Bowman and extends across to Highway 85.

The county will continue the maintenance until ownership has been determined.

Wild said there is no uniform answer to what entity owns the section of road because the dedication is to the state but the deed is to the county.

He said it has taken several weeks to talk to the state and county, but no timeline is set for when a final determination will be made.

"A decision about ownership of the road probably will not impact individual residents, although I guess it could have an impact on development in that area," he said. "Every owner along Highway 12, when it was used as a highway, either transferred the property to the state or to the county."

In February, Bowman County commissioners tabled a request by Bowman Township for the county to transfer a portion of the township road, 86th Street Southwest, or Old Highway 12, from the intersection of Highway 85 and going west four miles because ownership of the road could not be determined.

"When a road was made, easements would be negotiated with people who owned the property. Sometimes it went to the state or county and sometimes it's cloudy, but I suspect that the property in town will go to the city," Wild said. "A dozen to two dozen trucks park in this area, and it is basically a way of traveling across the parking lot now. It is important how we characterize this because if it is a street, we will need to provide access on the other side of the street, and I think we do want to characterize this area as a street."

Wild said that should the road be transferred to the city, it would then be in charge of the maintenance.