July 7, 2010

Statistics show the need for road improvements

Statistics show the need for road improvements
Onstad’s testimony shows urgent need to make changes to N.D. Highway 23

By MARVIN BAKER
EDITOR
Rep. Kenton Onstad, D-Parshall threw out a lot of numbers during a field hearing of the Senate Budget Committee, held Thursday in New Town. His statistics about N.D. Highway 23 shocked some people while others weren’t surprised.
There have been a lot of opinions recently about the need for major changes on N.D. 23, but Onstad’s numbers were finite and paint a very vivid picture of what is happenning on this major east-west thoroughfare between Minot and Watford City.
Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., called the meeting and heard from numerous people in the are who see the need for changes, including Three Affiliated Tribes Chairman Marcus Levings who went on record a year ago to say the road needs to be four laned.
Onstad, who was one of four legislators recently turned down on a request to call a special legislative session for highway improvements, was frustrated at the North Dakota Department of Transportation. He said because the northwest doesn’t have a large population base, it is often pushed to the back of funding requests and that is what he sees with N.D. 23.
“The meeting really spoke of the lack of support the state DOT has for our area,” Onstad said. “They discuss Band-Aid approaches to the problem, but when Francis Ziegler talks more scoping meetings, you really get frustrated. When the amount of traffic is clearly a problem and safety is a major concern, the state of North Dakota can’t turn their backs on us.”
 


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