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Work begins on Oil Patch truck bypasses

WATFORD CITY — The North Dakota Department of Transportation broke ground Thursday on highway bypass projects in Watford City and New Town that will relieve truck traffic in those Oil Patch towns.

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“These bypasses will provide greatly needed traffic relief to these growing communities and enhance road safety,” said Gov. Jack Dalrymple said. “The work that begins on these projects today is part of the most ambitious infrastructure improvement program in state history and represents our ongoing commitment to helping our western North Dakota communities meet the challenges of rapid growth.”

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

Nearly 3,900 trucks travel through Watford City each day and another 3,500 trucks pass through New Town daily, said North Dakota Department of Transportation Director Grant Levi.

The New Town truck reliever route is a 3.2-mile, two-lane project that will re-route truck traffic on state Highway 23 around the northeast of New Town. It’s estimated to cost $25 million and will be completed this year.

The also state is investing $10.8 million to reconstruct and widen state Highway 1804 from Highway 23 to the truck reliever route.

The Watford City southeast bypass will reroute traffic from Highway 23 to the southeast of Watford City. The $50.3 million project is nearly six miles long with four lanes of traffic. Work is expected to be completed this fall.

Last year, construction began on a southwest bypass for Watford city. That $80 million project, which will direct truck traffic around the city’s western edge, will be completed this fall.

Last month, the department broke ground on truck bypasses in Williston and Alexander, which are estimated to cost $190 million.

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