Posted 7/27/11 (Wed)
By Olivia Sundeen
Farmer Staff Writer
The saying, Patience is a virtue, is a good one to keep in mind when it comes to battling the constant road construction around Watford City.
There are currently four main projects that are being worked on within the McKenzie County and Dunn County areas.
“Rachel Contracting Inc., is handling the projects being done on Highways 22, 73, and 1806,” stated Robert Fode, Transportation Programs director with the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT).
N.D. Highway 22, from Killdeer to Mandaree, was closed earlier this year. The moisture and wet conditions from winter and spring caused the ground to shift which created a drop-off of the pavement. There was work done on a temporary bypass on Highway 22 two miles south of Mandaree.
Currently, the NDDOT is trying to construct a temporary bypass on this same highway 18 miles north of Killdeer.
“If all goes as planned,” stated Fode, “the slide repair project will have a temporary bypass in place and the road will be reopened for traffic from Mandaree to Killdeer. This was all supposed to be finished by last week, but the opening of the road has been delayed due to an additional landslide that occurred last Monday.”
Due to the excessive rain the embankment shifted near Mile Marker 125. This landslide caused further damage to the roadway. A new plan is underway as the NDDOT finishes its evaluation.
N.D. Highway 73, east of Watford City, was also undergoing construction work, but on July 20, 2011 the work was finished.
This road was closed due to pavement damage.
“The work on the detour project to make a bypass was started, but then a waterline paralleling the highway was found,” stated Fode. “The goal was to have it open by mid-July and that goal was accomplished.”
This is a temporary bypass until the permanent repair work can be completed later this year. Until then the speed limit has been reduced to 25 mph.
Since Highway 73 is currently stable and Highway 22 is being reevaluated, the contractor has not been able to work on Highway 1806 thus far. Once Highway 22 is fixed the contractor will be able to focus on the damage done to N.D. Highway 1806 which will make many lake go-ers very happy.
The NDDOT is working to repair Highway 1806 that runs from Watford City to Tobacco Gardens and get it open as soon as they can.
“The contractor will begin a mine and blend with cement-treated base and aggregate surfacing,” stated Fode.
This project will be underway shortly with no estimated end date. Therefore, Highway 1806 will remain closed with the exception of local traffic and access to oil locations.
The last road construction project that is adversely affecting the citizens of Watford City is Highway 85 that runs from Watford City to Alexander.
“Central Specialties is the contractor doing that project,” stated Joel Witt. “They are a company out of Minnesota. This particular project will cost $16,641,000.”
If all goes as planned the work is supposed to be finished sometime in October.
“The goal is to widen the road,” stated Witt. “We want to add passing lanes as well.”
The one thing that this construction company is doing that is different from the others is their method of handling vehicles as the work is being done.
“Instead of using pilot cars,” stated Witt, “traffic is going head-to-head in hopes that there won’t be such a holdup.”
For more information on any of these projects visit www.dot.nd.gov. The NDDOT is working hard to repair the roads in a timely manner. As they do their best just remember patience is a virtue. Take your time, buckle up for love, and have a safe trip.