43rd Avenue project in the works

BISMARCK, N.D. - The north side of Bismarck continues to grow, and there's no end in sight to the continued development.

Some of the roads just aren't able to keep up with the increased traffic. One of those stretches is 43rd Avenue. The area between State Street and Washington is two lanes right now. But city leaders say that's not enough to handle the amount of traffic traveling the road now, or in the future.

Close to 10,000. That's how many cars the Bismarck city engineering department says are traveling 43rd Avenue between Washington and State each day.

“If you were making anything but a right hand turn coming out of here it was impossible and now it's even worse,” Bismarck resident Russ Ulmer said.

Residents say traffic is getting worse too now that Cashwise has moved in.

“During traffic hour cars are backed up on Lockport 10 to 12 deep,” Ulmer said. “If there's a fire there's no way the fire truck could even get out of the fire department.”

That's why several options are being looked at to expand the roadway. One would be to convert it to three lanes with roundabouts. Another option would change it to five lanes, and the potential for lights in the future if needed.

“It would accommodate the pedestrian needs and the bicycle needs with the addition of shared use paths and sidewalks as well as the vehicular needs of having additional lanes or turn lanes,” Bismarck City Engineer Gabe Schell said.

Schell says they're looking at using federal aid from a highway bill in 2022, as long as it passes. He says if the city commission moves forward with the project, they can use money from the half cent sales tax that went into effect earlier this year, and then hopefully get reimbursed later. Schell says he'll be recommending the roundabout option to the commission.

“It's a safer way to move traffic and that's I guess my number one priority is trying to find ways that we can safely move people,” Schell said.

Schell says when construction happens will depend on when the commission makes a decision, and approves the funding for the project.

The city commission will be looking at the changes during their meeting Tuesday night.