US Highways 12 and 85 to get major overhaul
Major overhauls are planned for U.S. Highways 12 and 85 in southwestern North Dakota, said Francis Ziegler, director of the North Dakota Department of Transportation at a budget committee hearing at Bowman City Hall Tuesday.
"Nowhere is the need for an efficient transportation system more evident than in southwestern North Dakota," said Cal Klewin, executive director for the Theodore Roosevelt Expressway Association.
Sen. Kent Conrad was presnent and addressed the needs of state and local officials and business leaders along U.S. 12 and 85.
"As Congress begins to consider its next round of infrastructure investments, it's critical that we reach consensus on North Dakota's greatest needs. Hearings like this one will go a long way toward convincing my colleagues that improvement to critical roadways like U.S. Highways 12 and 85 are in the best interest of North Dakota and the nation," Conrad said.
"Unfortunately, U.S. Highways 12 and 85 are narrow two-lane highways that were never designed for the kind and amount of traffic that now use them," Klewin said.
"Transportation is vitally important to supporting our country's economic competitiveness and our state's economic growth. It is also crucial to moving freight, connecting manufacturers to retailers, farmers to markets, shippers to railroads, airports, seaports, and motorists to jobs, schools and stores," said Ziegler. "To improve traffic flow, enhance safety, and preserve the system, a variety of construction projects along U.S. Highways 12 and 85 will be under taken between the years of 2010 and 2014."
"We have approximately $32.5 million worth of projects scheduled on U.S. Highway 12 including major rehabilitation projects from Rhame to the Montana line and preventative maintenance including thin lift overlays and seal coats," Ziegler said. "There are about $75 million worth of projects scheduled on U.S. Highway 85."
"Adding a three lane section to U.S. 85 which includes intermittent left and right turning lanes from U.S. Highway 2 to the Missouri River is just one of the planned projects," Ziegler said.
Other U.S. 85 projects include regrading and adding a climbing lane south of the Long X bridge and adding multiple passing lanes between Watford City and Williston, said Ziegler.
A thin lift overlay from Bowman to the South Dakota Boarder, slurry seal 9.7 miles north of Amidon, and structure repairs south of the I-94 junction are also planned for U.S. 85, said Ziegler.
"If our economy is to continue to grow these inadequate roads must be upgraded to modern, four lane highways capable of serving local, regional and national needs," Klewin said.
"Commerce is a key component in the success of our community. The intersecting highways bring many different trades to and through Bowman. Future funding is critical to the continued growth of Bowman County and all of western North Dakota," agreed Lyn James President of the Bowman City Commission.