Long X Bridge construction update
Highway 85 is a main traffic route for the energy, agriculture and tourism industries in Western North Dakota, and it’s getting some major improvements.
Safety concerns make this a high priority for the Theodore Roosevelt Expressway, and it’s starting with the Long X Bridge near Watford City.
Much of the traffic crossing the Long X Bridge consists of oversize trucks, and the 60-year-old crossing is having a hard time handling it.
Theodore Roosevelt Expressway Exec. Director Cal Klewin said, “The oversize loads sometimes damage the bridge, hit the bridge, and there were points where this bridge could be down as much as 10 days. The detour to get back up to Williston from I-95 was sometimes a couple hundred miles with those large loads.”
A new four-lane bridge and 2 miles of widened highway will be open this November. The animal underpass will be done by 2021.
“It’s a 150 foot-long, 60 foot-wide structure to allow crossing for the wildlife so they don’t have to go over the road,” said Tyler Davis Ames Construction Project Manager. “The bridge itself is 790 feet long and we’re working on the sub-structure.”
The project is part of a Ports to Plains Corridor that spans from Canada to the Mexico border.
Klewin stated, “Our biggest issue is to get the funding to complete this project along the entire corridor, but in North Dakota we’re doing it piece by piece.”
Ports to Plain’s goal is to make North Dakota’s Highway 85 into four lanes to improve the movement of goods and services along the entire corridor that stretches across America.
The Theodore Roosevelt Expressway Association is working with state legislators to set money aside in order to start phase two of the project; expanding to four-lanes from the Long x Bridge to Watford City.