Which Option is Best for Permanent Bypass? | VideoChris Williams | 11/28/2012
Now the city and county are split on where the bypass should be built.
About 9,000 trucks travel through Williston each day. The permanent bypass will decrease that number, the only question is, "Where to build it?"
The DOT, county and city commissioners met tonight to talk about the future of the bypass, and what problems the DOT is running into.
"From what I`ve seen, it`s going to be very difficult, it`s going to be very difficult. When you have hundreds of burial sites, it`s very difficult to work through that. Not impossible to work through," said DOT Director Francis Ziegler.
Ziegler says this is most cultural resources he has seen on any project. There is a way around the burial sites, but it`s one mile west of Option A, which isn`t sitting well with some county commissioners.
"We`re only going to build this thing once, we have to do it right. We can`t push it out too far. If we go any further west than the yellow route, then we`ve lost our ability to build arterial routes into the city of Williston," said county commissioner Dan Kalil.
If they could, city commissioners would choose Option A, but if that`s not feasible they`re okay with moving on to Option B.
"We just want to get it done, we want to get it done soon, and we want to get it done when the state is willing to pay for it. It`s going to be a many million dollar project," said mayor Ward Koeser.
If the city and county are able to agree on Option B, design for the project could begin as early as next year, with construction starting in 2014. If the county chooses to stick with Option A, there could be major delays.
"I`m willing to take the time, and pursue it. I mean rather than just say no we can`t do it. Let`s work at it a little harder, let`s see if we can find a way through there because that`s the best route," added Kalil.
However, the DOT knows how important this project will be to Williston.
"It`s imperative that we start: number one, engineering the bypass, number two, buying the land for the bypass and moving forward with building it," Ziegler added.
According to the DOT, tribal leaders say if Option A is chosen they will take it to federal court.