December 30, 2014

Stories of the Year Bypass finally a reality

By Jerry W. Kram

The city of New Town waited for half a decade for some relief from the relentless truck traffic that has been rumbling down its Main Street since the beginning of the Bakken Boom. That relief finally came on Monday as the North Dakota Department of Transportation officially opened the North Dakota Highway 23B Truck Reliever Route, more commonly known as the New Town Bypass.

The story of the bypass actually begins with the City of New Town’s decision to do a major reconstruction of Main Street – a section of Highway 23 – in about 2007. The engineering and design of that project took about two years, and by 2009 there was too much truck traffic to reroute during construction. The city began working on building a bypass on its own, but the cost and complexity of the project made it necessary to bring in the state DOT. The project was to be built last year, but former MHA Tribal Chairman Tex Hall demanded modifications to protect the Elbowoods Clinic. The delay pushed the project into 2014.

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