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Our View: Public information officer will help city’s construction chaos

Contrary to popular belief, there are actually four seasons in North Dakota: fall, spring, winter and construction.

Two words you never would have put together five years ago were Dickinson and traffic.

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Dickinson is growing at an incredible pace and there is no sign that it is going to slow down in the next 25 years.

The Dickinson region’s permanent population — which includes eight southwestern North Dakota counties — is projected to increase from about 43,300 today to about 66,400 in 2020 and at least 82,000 by 2039. Permanent housing units, meanwhile, will grow from approximately 23,000 now to nearly 45,000 in 2039.

That is permanent population and doesn’t include folks here working for a limited time. The city is telling us, by all accounts, their necessary infrastructure plans call for this summer to be busier than ever before and sustain for years to come.

Road, sewer and water projects are expected to make travel difficult through the construction season, but the city hopes to keep citizens informed about slow traffic areas and road blocks as it completes its capital improvement plan.

The work has to be done and it will be even more cumbersome because weather gives our area a short window of opportunity to do the work.

Kudos to the city for recognizing the problems for commuters this summer and the Dickinson City Commission, which unanimously approved a contract for DLN Consulting to serve as a public information officer for construction projects for the next two seasons.

Still, the city can only do so much. Residents and businesses need to plan better and allow for more time. Getting from place to place is simply going to take more time.

By the end of this construction season, our city is going to look a lot different than it does now. But it will not come without some growing pains.

Utilizing the information supplied by the public information officer, combined with more patience, will help ease those growing pains.

The Dickinson Press Editorial Board consists of Publisher Harvey Brock, Managing Editor Dustin Monke and Assistant Editor April Baumgarten.