highways | Prairie Public Broadcasting

highways

Roundabouts becoming more popular in ND

Jun 11, 2019

Roundabouts are becoming more popular across North Dakota.

Traffic engineers say they’re safer than normal intersections.

"You have lower speeds going into an intersection," said North Dakota Department of Transportation traffic operations engineer Justin Schlosser. "You also have reduced conflict points -- points where vehicles can run into each other."

Schlosser said that's a lot less than in a "signalized" intersection or stop sign controlled intersection.

"That's because everyone is going in the same direction," Schlosser said.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The cones are out, the barriers are up, the graders are working.

It’s road construction season in North Dakota. The state Department of Transportation, the Highway Patrol and contractors are asking people to drive safely in those construction zones.

"In 2018, we had three workzone fatalities," DOT Director of Operations Wayde Swenson told reporters. "It's going to take everybody to make that zero in 2019."

There were zero fatalities in workzones in 2017.

North Dakota’s department of Transportation says it didn’t hear many complaints about snow removal in areas served by eight shuttered maintenance shops.

To save money, the 2017 Legislature approved a plan by DOT to close maintenance garages in Gackle, Courtenay, Litchville, Fessenden, Finley, New England, Mayville and Starkweather. People in those cities came to the Legislature to protest, saying they would have to wait for snowplows from outside those areas.

Road construction season begins

May 3, 2016
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

It’s road construction season in North Dakota.

And the Department of Transportation is encouraging drivers to be safe around work zones.

"You need to pay attention as you're traveling through," said state DOT director Grant Levi. "Stay off of that smart phone. Please don't be texting, and pay attention."

Levi said last year, there were 155 crashes in work zones, and one person was killed.

Hoeven: Highway bill close

Oct 27, 2015

North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven (R) says he’s optimistic a long term highway bill will pass by the end of the year.

Hoeven says the Senate has already passed a bill – and passed a 90 day extension of the existing highway funding. That extension expires at the end of the week. Now Hoeven says the House is moving on the issue.

"It may require an extension of a few weeks," said Hoeven. "But it looks like the House will get a bill passed, and we can get it in conference and get it done this year."

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."