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Dickinson officials concentrate on transportation, land use

Thomas McMurtry, a Kadrmas, Lee & Jackson planner, shows a map to Dickinson city officials explaining what transportation projects may need to be completed to meet the needs of the growing town. Officials met at Dickinson City Hall on Wednesday to discuss "Dickinson 2035: Roadmap to the Future," a comprehensive plan that will be used to strategically handle the city's growth.

Transportation, land use and population were on the minds of Dickinson city officials Wednesday as they discussed a comprehensive plan that would be used to strategically handle the city's growth.

The Dickinson City and Planning and Zoning commissions met Wednesday at Dickinson City Hall to listen to recommendations from Kadrmas, Lee & Jackson, a Bismarck-based engineering company that has been charged with designing "Dickinson 2035: Roadmap to the Future."

One of the main concerns was connecting north and south Dickinson. Highway 22 is the only artery that connects the two sides without being interrupted by the railroad. Mayor Dennis Johnson said the pass is old and narrow and needs attention as soon as possible.

KLJ planner Thomas McMurtry said redoing the underpass would be a high-dollar project. He suggested that an underpass be built on State Avenue at the railroad crossing.

He also recommended an underpass be built on 10th Avenue East. The street would be built to connect south and north Dickinson and be used as the east roundabout.

McMurtry said the underpasses would alleviate traffic from Highway 22. Earl Abrahamson, Planning and Zoning commission chairman, said it will continue to carry a lot of traffic.

"I do agree with the mayor that that underpass is a vital point," he said. "That has to be addressed. If something happens there, becomes unusable, all of the sudden you are going to direct all Highway 22 traffic to where?"

Abrahamson said officials cannot ignore the Highway 22 underpass. The underpasses are a high priority and should be done as soon as possible, city officials said.

Another concern was getting the land use map and population counts. City Commissioner Gene Jackson said there is some urgency to get the counts and land use map finished.

"We need that interim land use map ASAP," he said. "I think it will be used right away. I'm recognizing that it won't be formalized for a few months, but it will be used right away."

Dickinson is serving about 22,000 people. Dickinson's population could increase to more than 46,000 people by 2035, according to KLJ projections.

KLJ project manager Bob Shannon said the interim land use map can be ready as soon as the city needs it to be. He added it will not be set in stone and that companies can make arguments to change zones for their developments.

The land use map will help both commissions understand what the other is thinking when passing requests, Jackson said, adding it will be a "great communication tool."