Dalrymple Dedicates Opening of Williston's Temporary Bypass
BISMARCK, N.D. – Governor Jack Dalrymple today joined Williston and Williams County officials in celebrating the completion of the city’s temporary truck bypass. The 16-mile bypass is now open and will divert thousands of trucks around the western side of Williston every day, easing traffic congestion created by the region’s rapid development in oil and gas production.
“Completion of this project is great news for the Williston area,” Dalrymple said. “We expedited the project to provide much-needed relief from truck traffic on Williston streets and we are making significant progress on many other infrastructure improvements throughout the oil-producing region. There is much more work ahead and we will continue supporting the region to help meet the challenges created by rapid growth.”
The truck bypass utilizes Williams County roads 1 and 6 to connect to U.S. Highway 2 north and west of Williston. Construction began in May and consisted of widening and paving the county roads to accommodate heavy truck traffic.
Dalrymple and other officials celebrated the project’s completion by traveling the bypass on County Road 1 west of Williston. Joining Dalrymple were North Dakota Department of Transportation Director Francis Ziegler, Williams County Commissioner Williston Mayor Ward Koeser, Williams County Commissioner Dan Kalil and other area officials and residents.
“The North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) has worked closely with Williams County and the City of Williston over the last few months to get this much needed project complete,” Ziegler said. “The temporary bypass will provide immediate relief from traffic congestion while we continue to work with local officials for a long-term solution through the development of a permanent bypass.”
The temporary bypass was completed at a cost of $12 million, with the state providing $8 million directly and $4 million from Williams County, made available through the state’s County and Township Road Reconstruction program which was initiated in Gov. Dalrymple’s 2010 budget.
The NDDOT also plans to complete work this year on a second temporary bypass that will provide an alternate route around Williston’s eastern edge and further relieve traffic within Williston. At the request of Williston city officials and Williams County commissioners, the state plans to resurface a section of County Road 9 and County Road 6 to serve as an east-side bypass. Construction on the second temporary bypass is expected to begin this fall, with completion by the end of the year.
The temporary bypasses, on both the west and east sides of Williston, will provide relief from traffic congestion while local officials finalize routes for permanent bypasses.
Local officials have held public meetings to identify possible routes for a permanent bypass along the west side of Williston. The public input process and the environmental analysis required for a permanent, west-side bypass are expected to be completed in the summer of 2013, with construction also beginning next year.
During the current biennium, the state will provide $1.2 billion in funding to help the state’s oil-producing counties, cities, schools and other political subdivisions to address the impacts from rapid growth. State assistance in North Dakota’s oil country includes oil tax revenues which are allocated monthly to counties and cities; grants from the Energy Impact Fund; special funding for county, township and state road improvement projects; tax credits for the development of affordable housing and financial assistance to deliver water to western North Dakota. The funding is being used to:
- Facilitate the continued development of affordable housing
- Enhance law enforcement resources, other emergency services and regulatory oversight
- Construct truck-reliever routes and continue enhancements to U.S. 85, part of a long-term plan to convert the highway into an undivided, four-lane highway between Williston and Watford City.
- Rebuild and repair county, township and state roadways
- Extend city streets and utilities for residential growth
- Address growing student enrollments
- Expand and upgrade municipal wastewater treatment systems
- Develop water supply systems
Dalrymple has proposed investing $2.5 billion in statewide infrastructure improvements during the 2013-2015biennium. The Governor’s infrastructure plan includes providing another $135 million in Energy Impact grants, including $25 million for schools; $200 million for new school construction; $1 billion for extraordinary highway and road maintenance projects and an additional $145 million for the County and Township Road Reconstruction program. Dalrymple’s plan also calls for changes to the Oil and Gas Production Tax formula to increase the local share of revenues for counties, cities and schools.