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Billings County officials halt Highway 85 project plans

MEDORA -- The Billings County Planning and Zoning Commission halted R360 Environmental Solutions Inc.'s Highway 85 construction plans Thursday.

The commission at its regular meeting at the Billings County Courthouse asked R360, an oil field waste management provider, to wait to move ahead with its plans until they hear back from the North Dakota Department of Transportation about their proposal to widen the road and add a turn lane in front of the facility, located off Highway 85, about 21 miles north of Interstate 94.

"I'm concerned about the traffic and I'm just not comfortable with approval by this board without knowing what the DOT finds in their study," Commissioner John Tczap said. "It's a safety issue, not a design issue."

Earlier this year, R360 presented its proposal to the NDDOT to widen the road and add a turn lane as an access point onto Highway 85.

The company services an average of 40 to 50 trucks per day -- or about five trucks per hour into and out of the facility -- Hillary Fellow with R360 told the commission.

"That figure is based on the analysis given to the DOT, so I think it should have little impact on the highway," she said about the road construction plans. "We don't necessarily need the turn lane if the DOT doesn't approve it, but the lane would give cars a way to get around the trucks."

Fellow said she could not speculate about what the DOT's findings might be.

"We had expected an answer from the DOT this week, but it may be next week before we get a response now," she said. "Our plan is to work with the DOT and get the road to be something that they can be happy with."

The only thing to do now is to wait for the DOT's response, said Brian Moore, a representative for R360 who also attended the meeting.