WILLISTON, N.D. - Getting rid of trucks within the Williston city limits has been a challenge. While the state finished building a northwest truck reliever route, officials are looking to do the same for the northeast. But some landowners want none of it.
It was a room filled with more than 30 people and it was also filled with uncertainty from both sides.
“We are asking a lot of questions and not a lot of answers, so it’s difficult for us,” says Lane Knudsen, Williams County Rancher.
Local and state officials tried to collect residents' input regarding the project, but the residents had more questions that officials couldn’t answer.
“All of us are concerned of what we have to deal with and how they are going to use the land or take the land from us,” says Knudsen.
The project’s funding has not been set aside. Few details were available because an environmental assessment report has not been completed. Officials have narrowed the project down to two routes that will connect Highway 1804 and U.S. Highway 2.
“The best we can do is take in all of the information we have available to us and determine what is a preferred alignment would be, if this route gets built in the future,” says Jennifer Hanley, Ulteig Engineers.
Landowners, who would have their property cut in half, voiced their concerns about moving cattle across the roadway. They believe they might get the short end of the stick.
“If I feel like I need two crossings, and they want to give me one. I don’t have any leverage to the state to say, ‘hey, I need two.’ The state can say ‘we are going to give you one and that is what we are going to give you,'” says Knudsen.
One reason the project has been halted is because the Williams County Commission declined to choose either of the routes because they wanted to hear from the residents first. The state needs an agreement from the county and city to continue the project.
“We are looking for a way to get everybody’s input into this project. To work with the city, county and DOT as partners to try to figure out what the best solution is for Williston in the future,” says Hanley.
The public comment period on the proposed truck reliever route is open until November 30. Residents can email their comments to JenniferHanley@ulteig.com.