Posted 5/13/14 (Tue)
By Stephanie Norman
Farmer Staff Writer
From one bypass to another, the traffic around Watford City continues to be rerouted.
The existing truck bypass through Watford City was intended to reduce the amount of semi-trucks through the city. But because Watford City has grown so much and expanded outward, the traffic has become congested and roadways are falling apart. Traffic isn’t just on the outskirts anymore; it’s down Main Street and near people’s front yards where children play.
Highway 23, heading east out of Watford City, will get a facelift and attach to the future Highway 23 bypass, which will run southeast of town. However, in order to keep traffic flowing during the construction phase, additional roadwork is necessary to enhance a reroute bypass, which will run from 17th Ave. NE to County Road 36 and then over to North Dakota Highway 1806.
According to Governor Jack Dalrymple, the construction needs to be complete this year so work can begin on the Highway 23 Bypass. The North Dakota Department of Transportation is providing $10 million to assist Watford City with the mandatory project.
“The DOT has committed money to this project and they want it done this year,” Todd Norton, a representative of the Highway 23 project said. “It will be the bypass for traffic while the construction is going on for the given period.”
It was also noted that even though the DOT is offering to cover $10 million of the cost, with utilities this project will be nearly $14 million.
In other road business, there is talk at the county level to build a northern bypass in McKenzie County. It would be roughly 28.5 miles long and direct traffic north of Watford City, Arnegard and Alexander.
At this point, the project is just being discussed between the county and state officials.
“This project is not a for sure deal yet,” Ron Anderson, chairman of the McKenzie County Commissioners, said. “We don’t have funding yet and we are still working with the state on details.”
If the northern bypass is approved and becomes official, it would be roughly a two-year project – depending on weather and contractors, Anderson said.