Highway 85 Moving to Four Lanes | VideoChris Williams | 1/24/2013
The DOT is in the early stages of making Highway 85 between Williston and Watford City four lanes. It will be split into two phases. Watford City to Alexander will be the first phase, and Alexander to Williston will be the second.
"The best thing to do is just get in line, and you stay in line. You don`t try to pass. It`s not safe to pass, so we just kind of roll with it. It used to be 45 minutes from here to Watford, now you`re an hour, hour 15," said Williston resident Cory Hanson.
Other motorists change the way the drive, when they pull onto 85.
"I drive a lot more defensively on Highway 85 than I would drive on any other highway. Just because of the two lane and the amount of traffic," said Williston Resident Eric Rooke
The DOT is now in the planning process to makes things easier for motorists driving between Williston and Watford City.
"A divided four lane. It will have four lanes of traffic, so four 12-foot lanes, and it will have a center median of 20 feet, and eight foot shoulders on the highway," said DOT Director for Project Development Robert Fode.
The space for the new road is considerably larger than what it is now, so the DOT will need extra room to build the additional lanes.
"One of these days in the near future, probably early February time frame, we`ll be out talking to land owners. Talking to them about what their thought process is as far as dollar amounts for right of way costs," added Fode.
The funding for this project would come out of the one billion dollars the Governor proposed for the DOT.
"We don`t have a price estimate yet, but I can tell you the director has talked about a 300 million dollar project," Fode added.
One driver says adding the extra lanes will give motorists a little more space if something goes wrong on the road.
"If something does happen, if there`s a truck or a bus or somebody that`s having trouble, there`s nowhere to go to get out of the way. Four lanes makes a huge difference, and we`ve seen that here in Highway 2 going over to Minot," added Hanson.
Fode hopes to start bidding the project in May.