Dusty roads trouble residentsA haze is covering the countryside of western North Dakota, and it isn’t fog. Road use, calm days, and dry conditions have caused dust to linger over the land, and it has residents concerned, Stark County Road Superintendent Al Heiser said.
By: April Baumgarten, The Dickinson Press
A haze is covering the countryside of western North Dakota, and it isn’t fog. Road use, calm days, and dry conditions have caused dust to linger over the land, and it has residents concerned, Stark County Road Superintendent Al Heiser said.
“It’s really hard to believe that after this spring we would have a dust problem,” Heiser said. “The increase of traffic is phenomenal.”
Increased traffic from an oil boom in North Dakota has “kicked up more dust,” Heiser said. “Dust just hangs in the air and in the valleys. With the humidity it just gets stuck and
Accuweather Meteorologist Mike Pigott said a temperature inversion, a phenomenon which causes the ground to be cooler than the air above it, may have caused dust to linger.
“This would trap in any kind of car exhaust, dust or anything that would be spewed into the air from businesses and power plants,” Pigott said. “It would all be contained at night and build anywhere from a few feet to a mile in the air.”
The dust would linger in the air until something would cause it to clear, Pigott said. He added a front that came through Monday did that.
People who live near the increased truck traffic have complained about the dust. Elizabeth Obrigewitch, who lives by country roads with heavy traffic north of Belfield, said she wants trucks to slow down.
“They can use our roads,” Obrigewitch said. “I just feel we need some stop signs to slow the trucks down.”
Obrigewitch said she didn’t know if the dust had an affect on cattle, but said it has been hard on plants. She added Stark County needs to get dust control on the roads.
“They are trying to get it for us,” she said. “Billings County has it all over, and I don’t see why Stark County can’t have it.”
Stark County has used water to control dust. Heiser said it would be impossible to cover the entire county with his resources.
“Water doesn’t go very far,” Heiser said. “You get and 85-, 90-degree day, you water the road and two hours later it’s dry again.”
Heiser has looked into several different options to control dust. The best Stark County can do is find the main sources of dust and try
to control it, he said.
Obrigewitch said dusty road conditions are dangerous. It is hard to see past the dust, and vehicles going too fast can be hazardous. Even reporting speeding vehicles is difficult.
“They have told us we can get the license plate number and report the trucks, but it is hard to get the number when you can’t see it,” she said.
Drivers should be cautious when driving in dusty conditions, Heiser added, and all vehicles, especially truck drivers, should slow down.
“When you are driving you don’t know what is coming down the road or what is behind the cloud of dust,” Heiser said. “Drive for the
conditions that the roads are in. Just because
the speed limit is 55 mph, it doesn’t mean you have to drive 55 if the conditions only