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County okays funding for northern bypass linking U.S. 85 to N.D. 1806

Posted 3/08/16 (Tue)

By Amy Robinson
Farmer Staff Writer

The McKenzie County Board of Commissioners awarded the Northern Bypass Phase II project to Central Specialties Inc., at $29.9 million, which was about $1.2 to $1.3 million below the estimate. The board approved the bid at the county commissioners meeting held on Tuesday, March 1.
“The competition was pretty stiff,” said Suhail Kanwar, McKenzie County Public Works administrator/county engineer. “We had many companies put in bids for this project. Bids came in roughly $1.2 to $1.3 million below the estimate. This year we have two extra miles, but costs are down. We were lower last year as well and we have about $1 million left.”
The Northern Bypass Phase II project will begin when Central Specialties is ready to go. However, according to Kanwar, the official start date would be somewhere around May 15.
“DOT Director Grant Levi took a personal interest in this project and helped with expediting the permitting process with state and federal agencies,” stated Kanwar. “His support was key in the success of this project. Commissioner Ron Anderson was chairman when this project was conceived and spent plenty of time putting this project together, and later went to Bismarck numerous times to secure funding for our 2015 projects.”
Kanwar added that Anderson was a real asset for the county when it came to dealing with state agencies.
“He is not only known in all circles in Bismarck but he is also well respected,” added Kanwar. “I would say collaboration between Ron Anderson and Grant Levi and their leadership was the most important factors in success of all aspects of this project.”
“We’re in way better shape going into this project, thanks to Suhail and his team,” stated Ron Anderson, McKenzie County commissioner. “My six-year fight will finally be over!”
The goal of the $29.9 million Northern Bypass Phase II project is to finish the paving of Phase II before November 2016, says Kanwar. Phase I and II combined will give the joined project a little over 29 miles of paved road. It will go from U.S. Highway 85 to U.S. Highway 1806.
“The project will cut commute time from Williston to the Keene/New Town areas significantly,” stated Kanwar. “Farm goods to market goods will move more efficiently. Oil company shops in Williston will have an efficient access to Keene, where we have the best producing oil wells in the Bakken region. Not to mention, the biggest gain will come from having a road designed to meet most current safety standards.”
“Let’s get to building!” stated Richard Cayko, McKenzie County Board of Commissioners chairman.