Posted 6/02/15 (Tue)
By Amy Robinson
Farmer Staff Writer
Watford City residents and motorists have probably started seeing detours and increased road construction for one of the city’s biggest and newest roadway projects to be built in 2015 and 2016 - N.D. Highway 23 from 6th Street to the N.D. Highway 23 Bypass.
A traffic detour east of Watford City originally scheduled for Wednesday, May 27, was rescheduled for Monday, June 1. Traffic began to be rerouted onto a newly-created on-site detour route around the intersection of N.D. Highway 23 and N.D. Highway 73 (Johnson Corners), east of Watford City to allow crews to begin work on a roundabout at the intersection. The on-site detour is approximately one mile long.
The North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) is urging motorists to use caution when traveling through the area. During construction: Motorists should expect delays, flaggers will be in place, speeds will be reduced to 25 miles per hour, a 12-foot width restriction will be in place, and motorists will be detoured onto temporary routes as needed throughout the project. Traffic will be detoured until the roundabout is completed in October.
To help inform and educate the public on this specific road project and others, the NDDOT held a public input meeting on May 18 in Watford City. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss the updating of the Watford City Future Land Use Plan that is a part of the Watford City Long Range Transportation Plan. The meeting provided the opportunity for public input and questions. Representatives from the City of Watford City, McKenzie County, the NDDOT, and HDR, Inc., were on hand to answer questions and discuss concerns.
The N.D. Highway 23 from 6th Street to the N.D. Highway 23 Bypass project opened bids on April 24. The winning bid went to Knife River Corporation - North Central for $24.7 million. The project was supposed to start in mid-May, but was actually pushed back to the beginning of June. Completion of this project is slated for Nov. 1, 2015. Other items, to include lighting, will be complete in July 2016.
There is a list of project features included in this substantial project. When the project is complete, it will have a continuous center left turn lane, a right turn lane at three intersections along N.D. Highway 23, and will have a northbound and southbound right turning lane on 12th Street/County Road 36 at the intersection with N.D. Highway 23.
This project will also completely replace the Cherry Creek Bridge. There will be shared-use path extensions to the Watford City Golf Course. And a pedestrian underpass will be constructed.
Additional features include a mast arm-mounted traffic signal system at N.D. Highway 23 and 12th Street NE/County Road 36/and N.D. Highway 23 Alternate, the installation of corridor lighting throughout the project area, concrete paving on N.D. Highway 23, and storm sewer construction.
According to Richard Lane, principal for SRF Consulting Group, Inc., construction work is planned to start from the east and move westward during the project. There will be a frontage road for motorists to use, and the Cherry Creek Bridge will be removed with no detour, so motorists will have to plan ahead.
“It’s painful while you’re going through it, but it’s nice when it’s done,” said Todd Kelley, Watford City engineer.
The four additional projects the NDDOT is proposing roadway improvements on include 35 miles of N.D. Highway 23 and five miles of U.S. Highway 85 within McKenzie County, N.D. Highway 23 from the N.D. Highway 23 Bypass to Johnson Corners, N.D. Highway 23 from Johnson Corners to the Fort Berthold Reservation Boundary, U.S. Highway 85 from the N.D. Highway 23 Bypass to N.D. Highway 23, and U.S. Highway 85 from N.D. Highway 23 to the U.S. Highway 85 Bypass.
The NDDOT Williston District serves the transportation needs of the communities in northwestern North Dakota, including Williston, Alexander, Watford City, New Town, Stanley, and Berthold. The NDDOT has been working very hard to build new bypasses, expand roadways, and provide roadway improvements to enhance traffic movement. To learn about this year’s projects visit www.nddotwilliston.com.