Rough road projects in western North DakotaGreetings from your District 36 senator. The Legislative Transportation Committee met last week.
By: George Nodland, The Dickinson Press
Greetings from your District 36 senator. The Legislative Transportation Committee met last week.
We received an update from the North Dakota Department of Transportation Director Francis Ziegler.
The 2012 highway construction season has started and will be in full swing by June 1.
About $550 million of state highway construction will be done this year, plus $81 million of carryover from last year’s road projects.
There will also be $105 million of state-funded road projects in the Oil Patch counties done this year. Thus, about $736 million of road construction will be done this year (weather permitting) in the state with most of the work being done in the western Oil Patch.
There are also six truck bypass projects being reviewed and designed at this time. Williston is making a temporary bypass at this time and is also having a permanent one designed.
The other bypass projects are Dickinson, Watford City, New Town, Alexander and Killdeer. These projects will be very expensive, but are much needed.
Williston’s temporary bypass is estimated at $11 million and the permanent bypass is estimated at $30 million to $40 million. The environmental study is one-third of the cost and takes a long time.
Some of the cost increases due to more expensive fuel, labor, housing and equipment are eye-opening!
The five-lane, five-mile project from Dickinson north to the Dunn County line projected costs are $3.5 million per mile.
The two-lane work being done north of Killdeer on highways 22, 83 and 23 cost $2.5 million per mile.
Department of Transportation employees in Williston are being housed in motel rooms at a cost of $2,700 per month. The employees are being charged $600-$800 per month.
The department has lost experienced operator personnel due to wages. They cannot compete with the oil-related jobs that pay 50 to 100 percent more than it pays.
Traffic volume continues to increase each month. The traffic count on Highway 23 in New Town city limits range from 8,250-10,415 vehicles per day any day of the week.
Truck traffic in oil country in western North Dakota is now 50 to 60 percent of the total traffic each day. This has caused extreme damage to roads. Highway 2 was built in 2004 and designed for a 20-year life cycle. The increased traffic has caused the road to be repaired and replaced today, eight years later.
As you can see, the cost of state government is increasing with the increase in our state economy due to the oil industry. We cannot expect to provide the services the citizen’s demand without increasing the state budget to meet this demand. We must provide safe highways, city streets and county roads for our people. This comes at a cost, but is provided by the oil revenue from the oil industry.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve you. Please contact me with your thoughts and concerns.
Nodland is the District 36 senator, Dickinson. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.More from around the web