March 26, 2010

A safer highway

A safer highway
N.D. Highway 23 remains a dangerous road


More than two months after the speed limit was reduced 10 miles per hour on a stretch of N.D. Highway 23, it remains a dangerous road and some people are going out of their way to avoid traveling its east-west route.
That caught the attention of the Ward County Commission and at its last meeting sent a resolution to the North Dakota Department of Transportation demanding the implementation of safeguards such as turning lanes, better sight visibility and wider shoulders.
Closer to home, Three Affiliated Tribes Chairman Marcus Levings continues to be in favor of having N.D. 23 four-laned from Watford City to the junction of U.S. Highway 83, a distance of about 73 miles.
Seven months ago Levings was certainly in the minority in his quest for highway improvements. But now he and the Ward County Commission have been discussing the possibilities together.
According to Levings, safety is paramount. Too many people have become fatalities on this highway and until something is done to mitigate the risk, it will remain. His other concern is to see better access when new housing starts take place on reservation land near the highway.
In January, the speed was reduced to 55 miles per hour from the junction of N.D. Highway 22 to the junction of N.D. Highway 37. Many consider that a Band-Aid fix as few travelers abide by that speed limit over the 27-mile distance.
Gary Orluck, a captain with the North Dakota Highway Patrol in Minot, stopped short of endorsing a four-lane highway, but said the four-mile stretch of N.D. 23 between New Town and the 4 Bears Casino sees as much traffic as the intersection of N.D. Highway 3 and four-lane, U.S. Highway 2 at Rugby.

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