The North Dakota Department of Transportation is planning two roadway projects along Highway 22 in Dickinson, which would address the life of the pavement as well as reviewing handicap curb ramps.

The Dickinson City Commission unanimously approved two NDDOT preliminary engineer agreements for micro-surfacing and mill and overlay projects Tuesday, July 6, at City Hall.

The City of Dickinson has an agreement with the NDDOT to maintain and participate in improvement projects, and the state pays for the vast majority of the improvements along state right of ways, Planning Director Walter Hadley said. The city is involved in the maintenance portion of that infrastructure, Hadley noted.

Though engineers are still in the design/survey process, Hadley said that the main interesting element to both of these projects is reviewing ramps to make sure they are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. When doing street/sidewalk maintenance projects, there are federal mandates for the state to be ADA compliant. In the last few years, the City of Dickinson has made efforts in replacing ramps so they are handicap accessible, he noted.

“... So if there are some issues that have handicap access or if they're broken out or inaccessible, the ADA guidelines will be replaced,” Hadley said.

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The mill and overlay would begin at 29th Street North and extend to the north urban limits in Dickinson, near The Hub or between 34th and 40th streets. This project is tentatively set for 2024. This would be approximately one mile. Though the NDDOT plans to continue paving north of that section, the city doesn’t have any involvement in that rural area, according to NDDOT District Engineer Rob Rayhorn.

This mill and overlay project will most likely have a one grinder and that will grind out an inch of the roadway. This will eliminate the cracks and imperfections. Crews will then repave 2-3 inches of asphalt on top of that resurfaced roadway. Traffic will remain open at all times, with only a part blocked off.

The micro-surfacing project is tentatively scheduled for 2023, and will take approximately five weeks to complete.

“It's really between a chip seal and a pavement, where they mix the chips with oil and cement, and then place a thin layer on the road. When we would normally do a chip seal on a rural highway, when we're in a town we like to do a micro-surfacing because there's not loose chips flying around that can break windshields or create problems like that,” Rayhorn said. “It's a much cleaner project; there's no dust and no loose chips.”

Ramps that are handicap accessible (pictured above) will be considered for two future state roadway projects in Dickinson along Highway 22. The state will review those Americans with Disabilities Act ramps and update deficient ramps. (Jackie Jahfetson/The Dickinson Press)
Ramps that are handicap accessible (pictured above) will be considered for two future state roadway projects in Dickinson along Highway 22. The state will review those Americans with Disabilities Act ramps and update deficient ramps. (Jackie Jahfetson/The Dickinson Press)

With both of these projects, the city would not be obligated to contribute any funding because these projects are 80% federally funded and 20% comes from the state, Rayhorn said.

“People always wonder are we going to get special assessed because there's a project or how much is the city spending and stuff like that. But the city wouldn’t have a cost share in this, Rayhorn said.

Similar to the ongoing road project on the East Business Loop, these two future projects on Highway 22 would allow for regular traffic flow, Hadley continued. The current project happening east of Villard Avenue is slightly more complex because that entails making the road larger, so there is more dirt exposed.

“For this one, the grinding and then chip sealing and overlay and all that stuff, you're working in the profile of the roads (that) are there. They're not going outside the curbs, so it's pretty easy to control,” he said. “Even on the freeways, they grind a lane, and that's the lane that's closed. Then they typically go in and fix that, which means then they go in and pave it. Then they open that up, and then they start working on the other.”

In the four-lane area north of Dickinson near The Hub, Hadley predicts that they will close only one lane in one direction due to immobilization and equipment costs. There may be an approximate 30-minute wait whilst the overlay is being conducted. However, most businesses have access beyond Highway 22, Hadley said, adding that a majority of the residences still have alley access.

“There'll be a little bit of inconvenience, I'm sure. But you’ll wind up with a new road. It's a new road that fortunately the taxpayers of Dickinson don't have to flip the entire bill for. A lot of communities have taken over totally those groups throughout the country, then that work and that cost would be completely borne the city — which is I don't think what we want yet.”

The state will award the bids for the two projects and provide parameters for start and completion dates.

“It is a good opportunity to partner with the state transportation folks to not only improve the highway for the people passing through, (but) because people obviously use it every day, which is a much vast majority of the traffic that’s on there,” Hadley added.