The director of the state Department of Transportation says DOT is having some trouble securing rights-of-way for highway projects in western North Dakota.
Grant Levi told a Legislative interim committee a good example of that is the proposed US Highway 85 truck reliever route in the Williston area, especially the intersection of US 85 and US 2.
"The cost of purchasing right-of-way is at numbers that I wouldn't have imagined in my career," said Levi. "At that location, we're spending about $165,000 an acre."
Levi says in other parts of western North Dakota along US 85, the price is between $25,000 and $40,000 an acre.
"We're having difficulty settling at the prices we're appraising the property for," said Levi. "In the interest of the state of North Dakota, to insure that we pay a fair price for it, we are using the eminent domain process, and at times we are condemning."
Levi says he understands landowners’ reluctance – because of all the demands for rights-of-way for power lines, pipelines and other infrastructure.