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Killdeer to build safer school crosswalk

MANNING -- In a move long awaited by parents and school officials, the Dunn County Commission on Wednesday signed off on a project designed to make a pedestrian crossing of Highway 22 near Killdeer's public school complex safer for students.

The final hurdle for the project, commissioners voted unanimously to back the Safe Routes to School infrastructure project, which will be funded through grant money and in partnership with the city of Killdeer and the North Dakota Department of Transportation.

The project description -- which highlights "years of complaints from community members" -- will consist of the addition of a single enhanced pedestrian walkway across Highway 22 to the Killdeer Public Schools grounds, the implementation of rectangular rapid flashing beacons and the construction a number of median "refuge" islands within the highway.

Killdeer City Administrator Dawn Marquardt said Wednesday the city has been awarded $102,590 in grant money from the DOT that will go toward the estimated final price tag for the project of just less than $114,000. Marquardt said the city will be responsible for the remaining dollars needed and added construction will likely begin later this year.

The Killdeer school grounds are located immediately west of Highway 22, which welcomes approximately 6,450 vehicles per day through Killdeer, according to state DOT number. The high traffic count is due largely to oil industry-related truck traffic.

The county was required to act as the official sponsor for the project because Killdeer is a city with a population of less than 5,000, according to DOT guidelines. The grant proposal received the full endorsement of Killdeer Public Schools Superintendent Gary Wilz.

In other action, the board approved $2,064 for the addition of an added security mechanism to be installed for the secondary entrance to the Dunn County Courthouse building in Manning.

The feature will consist of a keycard entry system, which likely will be completed sometime next month, according to county clerk of court and recorder Lisa Guenther.

Bryan Horwath
A Wisconsin native, Horwath has been covering news in the Oil Patch of North Dakota since 2012. Horwath currently serves as the senior agriculture and political reporter for The Dickinson Press and, despite the team's tendency to always let him down, remains a diehard Minnesota Vikings fan.
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