Big Budget for DOT | VideoJennifer Joas | 1/21/2013
Rush hour traffic in major cities has nothing on Williston`s truck traffic. It`s not uncommon to sit through half a dozen traffic lights before getting through the intersection. And don`t even think about making a left hand turn.
That`s why the DOT is asking for money as soon as possible to help with truck reliever routes and highway repairs.
"Getting those funds early is essential. That we can come in and we can move some of those projects forward to provide some relief, to provide the infrastructure that`s needed," said DOT Interim Director Grant Levi.
In addition to those improvements, those living in the oil patch have had another project in mind for years. Many refer to Highway 85 as a "death trap," and they`ve been asking that it be made a four-lane road.
"If you care at all about the people out there, you better be thinking about getting a four lane road. Which should cut down a lot of that concern that the people have lived there all their life have to face every day," said Senator Bill Bowman (R) from Bowman.
The DOT has finally agreed to add the lanes between Williston and Watford City. But Senator Bowman says it should stretch all the way down to Belfield. "We`re sitting here producing billions of dollars to our state, thousands and thousands of truck loads of traffic, and we almost have to beg to get a four lane. And that is frustrating,"
Levi says the DOT plans to start construction on Highway 85 this summer, but will be doing the work in portions because of the length of the road, and because the DOT wants to minimize impacts to travelers.
The bill containing the $620 million for immediate projects will come before the Appropriations Committee tomorrow morning.