September 11, 2009

Four laning Highway 23 may have environmental impact

Four laning Highway 23 may have environmental impact
Editor’s note: This is the final of a three-part series that will examine the need for changes on N.D. Highway 23 that include four laning about 75 miles of the highway, making changes to downtown New Town, as well as improvements to N.D. Highway 37, N.D. Highway 22, tribal and county roads.

By MARVIN BAKER
EDITOR
Turning 75 miles of N.D. Highway 23 into a four-lane freeway isn’t something that can be done overnight, according to an official with the North Dakota Department of Transportation. But it is something that demands a lot of attention so Three Affiliated Tribes Chairman Marcus Levings wants to start talking about it now.
Following numerous auto accidents in the past several months that have resulted in four fatalities on N.D. 23, Levings called a meeting to get federal, tribal, state, county, city and township officials together to talk about the need for a four lane highway from Watford City to the junction of U.S. Highway 83.
Jim Redding, an engineer from the Minot District of the Department of Transportation, said it could take four to six years to make something like this happen, provided funding is available to build the four-lane road. In 2006, the cost estimate was about $1 million per mile.
Redding said there is a strategic plan for highway improvements across the state that DOT officials look at five years in advance. He stopped short of saying whether or not N.D. 23 might be on a list for such a major improvement.
 


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