Belfield is pursuing a Small Town Revitalization Endeavor for Enhancing Transportation (ND STREET) grant for its portion of Highway 85.

The grant provides both state and federal funding to cities with populations under 5,000 for highway renovation, Belfield auditor Natalie Muruato said.

The city is working with Brosz Engineering of Bowman to prepare plans to submit for the grant and has gathered input from the community.

"We don't know exactly how much we'll be receiving," Muruato said. "We just put together our plans and what we wanted."

Though a public hearing was held two weeks ago, the problems around Highway 85 have long been evident.

"We need some turn lanes. There's some pedestrian crossing safety issues. There's some speeding issues that we have," Muruato said. "Some of our speed limit signs and such don't accommodate our new annexations because of the oil boom."

Highway 85 also places an undue burden on the city's police department.

Muruato said a study showed the North Dakota Highway Patrol and Stark County had 288 calls for service and Belfield police had 788 calls on that three-mile stretch of Highway 85 through the city.

"Probably more than half of all of calls and arrests come from Highway 85," Muruato said.

Turn lanes at the Belfield SuperPumper will likely be increased, Muruato said, to address concerns over pedestrian traffic.

"We have an issue with truckers or families that will park and cross to go over to Trapper's Kettle, so they're going to put in what's called a pedestrian island," she said. "It won't necessarily be a crosswalk but there will be maybe a flashing sign that says pedestrians are crossing."

Flashing speed limit signs are also needed, Muruato said.

"We're trying to get those flashing speed limits signs as you go down that hill because we're just not able to patrol highway 85 as much," she said.

Among the community's concerns, Muruato said, is the bothersome volume of engine breaks so close to the town's hotels.

"Those patrons who stay at those hotels, sometimes at night, with all the trucks, it can be disturbing for them," she said.

A preliminary plan submitted by Brosz Engineering will now be better defined following public comments and, following approval from the Belfield City Council, will be included with the city's grant submission.

The improvements have long been needed, Muruato said.

"They're proposing that four-lane highway right up to the interstate, going up to Watford City. If they don't do something it's going to create a bottleneck anyway," she said. "There's got to be something to keep our town safe, because it goes right through the middle of the town."

The completed grant is due to the state by Feb. 23.